|Hodja in a Yellow Caftan|
Osman Hamdi Bey, 1905
like the sun, it shines everywhere. "
William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
On the first day of the month, known as April Fool's Day, we are given free reign to play good natured jokes on friends and family. Many different cultures shared days of foolishness around the start of April. The Romans had a festival named Hilaria on March 25, rejoicing in the resurrection of Attis. The Hindu calendar has Holi, and the Jewish calendar has Purim. Perhaps there's something about the time of year, with its turn from winter to spring, that lends itself to lighthearted celebrations. http://www.infoplease.com/spot/aprilfools1.html
Hodja is one of our favorite fools, and there are many stories associated with this interesting character from Turkey.
Nasreddin Hodja - Information and stories about the beloved character of Turkish tales, including reading comprehension exercises. This website is also a portal to many other Hodja sites.
A well-known Trickster in Oral Tradition is Anansi. Anansi is one of the most important characters of West African and Caribbean folklore. He is also known as Anase, Kweku Ananse, and Anancy; and in the Southern United States he has evolved into Aunt Nancy. He is a spider, but often acts and appears as a man. The story of Anansi is akin to the Coyote trickster found in many Native American cultures.
The Anansi tales are believed to have originated in the Ashanti tribe in Ghana. (The word Anansi is Akan and means, simply, spider.) They later spread to other Akan groups and then to the West Indies, Suriname, and the Netherlands Antilles. On Curaçao, Aruba, and Bonaire he is known as Nanzi, and his wife as Shi Maria.
Jamaican Anansi Stories - Tricksters are universal figures in folkore and Anansi is one of our most beloved. This site offers a wide variety of Anansi tales as well as trickster folklore from various cultures. The text also includes transcriptions of folk music, and a large collection of riddles, all cross-referenced with folklore studies from other cultures. There are also musical notations in some of the texts for the musical among us! http://tinyurl.com/6huzob
And what would April Fool's Day be without some laughter?
Tales of Laughter – What better way to jump into the month of fools than reading Tales of Laughter from 1908? A collection of familiar and not so familiar tales from Russia, Ireland, Spain, France and many more countries from around the globe. They are sure to have you smiling with delight!
The first day of spring this year was March 20 and soon, colorful flowers will be blooming here in the east, which calls for some stories about spring and the sun!
Apples4theteacher.com - Fourteen stories to celebrate the wonderful season of spring. http://www.apples4theteacher.com/holidays/spring/short-stories/
Sun Was Rescued - Siberia
The Spring Beauty - Native American/Chippewa
Why Cats Sit on the Doorstep in the Sun - Rumania
Earth Day is April 22. What better way to celebrate than sharing stories about our beautiful planet?
Earth Cakes, Sky Cakes – Folktale from Vietnam
When The Earth and Sky Were Married - Folktale from Muria/India
Earth Care – World Folktales to Talk About
A limited preview of this excellent book by Margaret Read MacDonald. You can read some of the folktales online, but I bet you will want a copy of your own.
After we leave the month of April it will be time to celebrate and explore the cultural celebration of Japan's Children's Day or Kodomo no Hi.
Woman Playing with a Child
with a Tengu Mask
by Kitagawa Utamaro
Kids Web Japan - A number of Japanese folktales for you students to read. Later, they may explore the culture of Japan using different links. http://tinyurl.com/bqjbur
Fables and Trickster Tales From Around the World – From Edusitement, lesson plans, information and stories, everything you need to introduce your students to those globe-trotting tricksters, Anansi, Brer Rabbit, Fox, and Rabbit.
Leap into spring with ABC Teach.com Counting games, math facts, printables, word searches and more.
Flowers in the Classroom – Grades 5 to 8 Language Arts: Legendary Flowers lesson plan including myths, folktales and legends of flowers. http://www.teachertube.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=46597
Planet Pals.com - This is a colorful, fun and information filled website on all things Earth: Lesson plans and activities for both teachers and parents, the history behind Earth Day, coloring pages, puzzles, clip art and so much more. http://www.planetpals.com/index.html
Japanese Folktales Lesson Plans for 3-6
Teacher’s Resource Guide: Japanese Art and Culture Outreach Kit - Although you may not be able to borrow the actual kit, there are many helpful curriculum ideas in this guide you may duplicate on your own.
Activity Village – Make your own carp kite or origami to celebrate Kodomo no hi (Children’s Day). There are many other crafts, activities and printables to make this Japanese national holiday shine!
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Karen Chace 2009 ©
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