Lighting Ceremony Expedition
- your camera
- hot chocolate in a thermos
- small flashlight
- Find a ceremony. Look in newspapers and online to get times and dates for your town's holiday lighting ceremonies.
- Bundle up. Baby, it's cold outside! Both you and your kids will enjoy the ceremonies if your teeth aren't chattering. Don't forget mittens and hats!
- Go as a group. Invite friends and neighbors to join you and share the magic and goodwill as a community.
- Stick together. Hold hands to keep kids from getting lost in the crowds. With older kids, establish a plan of where and when you'll meet in case you get separated.
- Sing out. Many ceremonies incorporate holiday songs. To brush up on the lyrics ahead of time, go here.
- Learn how to light the lights. Many religions use candles during the holidays, although they use different tools and techniques. Here are the how-tos:
- Advent Christmas advent wreaths hold three purple candles and one pink candle with a white candle in the center. Light one outside candle each Sunday leading up to Christmas with the pink candle lit third. The white candle is lit on Christmas Day.
- Hanukkah Hanukkah menorahs have eight candles plus one taller candle (the Shamash) in the center. On each night of Hanukkah, place a candle in the menorah, going from right to left. Then light the center candle and use it to light the rest of the candles, going from left to right.
- Kwanzaa Kwanzaa kinaras have seven candles: a black one in the center, three red ones on the left and three green ones on the right. They represent the seven principles of Kwanzaa: Unity, Self-determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Collective economics, Purpose, Creativity and Faith. Each night, light the center candle and use it to light the other candles, one per night. Start with the red candle on the end. Then the next night, lit it and the green candle on the other end. Continue until all the candles are lit on the last night of Kwanzaa.
- Investigate. Ask your child open-ended questions:
- Why do we light the Christmas tree and Advent
- Wreath? The Menorah? The Kinara?
- What are our other holiday traditions?
- Which is your favorite?
- Do you know someone who celebrates a different holiday from ours?
- Read all about it. Check out Hanukkah Lights: Holiday Poetry by Lee Bennett Hopkins, Jingle Bugs by David A. Carter, Little Tree by E. E. Cummings, Seven Candles for Kwanzaa by Andrea Pinkney.
For more exploring, play Dora's Great Big World game, find do-together Dora crafts, recipes, and activities, and print a personalized Explorer Kit for your child at DoraTheExplorer.com.
You can also get Dora's Christmas Carol Adventure app on iTunes!
Thanks to Susan Hood
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