Lesson 2: Traditions

Getting Started

Questions to Explore

  • How are people from different cultures the same and different?
  • How does a person's culture affect his or her life?
  • Why do cultures have traditions?
  • What do the traditions, jobs, and foods of a culture tell us about the culture?

Facts and Definitions

  • A tradition is a repeated activity that holds special meaning for a family or group of people.


  • Explore the benefits of diversity in the United States (SS)
  • Compare and contrast similarities and differences among individuals and families (SS)
  • Recognize and describe religious and secular symbols or celebrations associated with special days of diverse cultures (SS)
  • Explore and cite reasons for observing special days that recognize celebrated individuals of diverse cultures (SS)
  • Recognize and describe the historical events associated with national holidays (SS)
  • Trace the historical foundations of traditions of various neighborhoods and communities (SS)
  • Connect ideas and themes across text (LA)
  • Share personal experiences and responses to experiences with text (LA)


  • Christmas Around the World by Mary D. Lankford
  • 3 or 4 bright colors of construction paper
  • acrylic paint* (Activity 2 - Option 2)
  • Chinese New Year foods
  • crayons, colored pencils, or markers
  • flour* (Activity 2 - Option 2)
  • library books on holidays of different cultures
  • masking tape
  • plastic egg* (Activity 2 - Option 2)
  • rice
  • scissors
  • strips of newspaper and paper towel for paper mache* (Activity 2 - Option 2)
  • toilet paper roll
  • water* (Activity 2 - Option 2)
  • world map

* - denotes an optional material that may or may not be needed


Ask your child if he can think of any special activities your family does in the same way at the same time on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis. Explain that these special activities are called traditions. Families and/or groups of people around the world can practice traditions. These traditions keep the culture alive because they are passed down to the next generation. They bring people together and help them remember important people or events. Ask your child if he can think of any traditions the people in his community practice.