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Vermilion Parish Schools

Activity 7: National Holidays (GLEs: 27, 45, 52)

Materials List: National Holidays BLM, Internet (optional)

Introduce the term holiday.  Have students name some holidays that they celebrate in the local community.  (e.g., Mardi Gras, Valentineís Day, Motherís Day, etc.)  Make a list on the board of the different holidays celebrated.  Then introduce the term national holiday.  Tell students that a national holiday is celebrated throughout the country. 

Have students think about the times in their lives they celebrated special holidays or events with their families.  Have the students bring photos or draw pictures of four or five of these events.  Then have students create a personal timeline with their pictures.  Students should write a brief description of the event under each picture and include their age at the time of the event. 

Then have students create a timeline showing the twelve months. (See the National Holidays BLM)  Have students write national holidays on the timeline in the correct month in which  they are celebrated. Include on the timeline, New Yearís Day, Martin Luther Kingís Day, Presidentís Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veteranís Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and any other holiday celebrated in their local community. Help students identify people associated with each holiday and their achievements. Discuss the significance of each holiday to the country.  Have students write journal entries about their favorite national holiday and why they enjoy it.

Explain to students that, like this country, other countries celebrate various holidays.  Some holidays are celebrated because of events that happened in the past.  The Fourth of July, celebrates the countryís birthday.  This was the day we declared independence.  Other countries also celebrate freedom and independence. 

The following chart gives some examples:

Country

Date of Independence

Date Celebrated

Name of Holiday

Mexico

September 16, 1810

September 16

Independence Day

Canada

July 1, 1867

July 1

Canada Day

Italy

April 25, 1945

April 25

Liberation Day

Japan

May 3,1947

May 3

Constitution Day

South Africa

April 27,1994

April 27

Freedom Day

China

December 2, 1949

October 1

National Day

Have students choose one or two countries and find information on how Independence Day is celebrated.  Then have them compare it to how itís celebrated in this country.  Then discuss how this celebration has changed with the passing of time. 

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