by Morgan Collins
In less than two weeks the holiday break will begin, creating a buzz of excitement as hundreds of children anxiously wait to be away from school and spend time with their families. This year’s holiday break encompasses the holidays of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza. This means that there is a holiday to celebrate for many people belonging to multiple cultural groups. Additionally, it may come as a surprise that just as we return from the break we have yet another day off on January 6th. For some it may seem like just another day off, but for many this is another important holiday that has not been recognized in schools.
Three Kings Day is celebrated by many Latin American groups and symbolizes when the Three Kings finally reached Jesus in Bethlehem. In this Biblical story, the Three Kings also bring gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to represent their gratitude. Families who celebrate this holiday leave gifts outside for the Three Kings as they continue their travels. Additionally, this holiday is typically celebrated with parades and feasts with family. In past years, children who celebrated this holiday either had to miss school to participate in the festivities or miss out on a holiday that was important to their culture. This year marks the first year Hamden schools recognize this holiday and allow children to participate without worry of missing a day of school.
More cultural days like this are being recognized in schools all over the country. Indigenous Peoples Day is another holiday that our school district recognized with a day off this year. This holiday replaced Columbus Day and now is a day filled with pride and recognition for the many indigenous groups who our country previously wronged. Although we still have a long way to go in ensuring that children of every culture have a day off for their special holiday, these recognized days off are a step in the right direction to creating a more culturally diverse and accepting school community.