8 Special Holiday Celebrations to Teach Your Students

By Kirsten Hammond

There are so many wonderful and special holidays that families, students, and cultures celebrate around the world.

We may have our favorites that we celebrate at home, but it’s also fun (and important) to learn about different celebrations and holidays that other people observe.

Learning about holidays and celebrations with our students can help create awareness and respect in different traditions and cultures that are celebrated.

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What are some special holiday celebrations to learn about?

Here are 8 holidays that are celebrated around the world that your students may (or may not) have heard about, but are super important to know!

Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year is celebrated in many East Asian countries and this holiday honors gods and ancestors.

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Mardi Gras

King Cake anyone? This Carnival celebration originated in France and is celebrated all over the world. A big celebration occurs in New Orleans, Louisiana! It marks the beginning of the Lent season.


Also known as Persian New Year, this holiday is celebrated by Iranians and other Central Asian countries to mark the spring equinox.


The “festival of colors”, Holi is a Hindu celebration that signifies the victory of good over evil and is celebrated in the spring.


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Las Posadas

A Mexican holiday that re-enacts Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging before Jesus’ birth, it takes place nine days before Christmas Day. It ends on December 24 with a big feast and exchange of gifts.


The “Festival of Lights” celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance among others. This is usually celebrated in fall or winter.

St. Lucia’s Day

St. Lucia’s Day is a traditional Swedish holiday celebration with singing, candles, and a procession that takes place on December 13th.

La Tomatina

A Spanish festival held annually in the city of Bunol where participants throw tomatoes at each other for fun.

How Can I Teach Holiday Celebrations to My Students?

Here are a few easy ways that you can teach holidays with your students!

1. Nearpod

Nearpod is a great way for students to interact with content on their own devices. You can do it as a whole group or in self-paced mode. Just search a topic and there will be a lot of great games and activities to assign to your students!

It’s also free for teachers!

2. Webquests

Another activity is to have students research holidays. I like to use Ducksters and Brittanica Kids as resources for students.

This Holiday Webquest Bundle has a ton of holidays students can research and learn about with activities and links already there for them! Just print and go!

3. Daily Passages

Get students practicing their reading comprehension skills AND social studies skills with the culture and society daily passages!

This resource includes information on celebrations and important people who made an impact on the world, the US, and Texas.

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Students should have the ability to learn about different holidays and cultures – even when they don’t celebrate it themselves. It helps students become well-rounded citizens who are aware of, appreciate, and respect other cultures around them.

kirsten hammond

Kirsten is a former 3rd and 5th grade teacher who loves helping upper elementary teachers by creating resources and sharing ideas that are engaging, research-based, and TEKS-aligned. She is a work-from-home mama of 3 rambunctious little ones and loves running, true crime, and lots of coffee.

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