First day of school traditions around the world
Summer break has gone by so fast and we are now gearing up to go back to school. The start of the academic calendar varies around the world and each country has an interesting tradition or activity to kick off the new school year. Let’s look at some of them and learn about the different cultures of the world!
It is common in the US for parents to take photos of their children before they leave the house on their first day back to school. Even sometimes, the children would be holding papers labeled with the grade they’re starting in. Proud parents would beam “Say cheese!” and the children would flash their sweetest smiles. What a great way to preserve memories of the kids in their new uniform or outfits, looking nervous and excited at the same time. Through the years, these photos would reflect the changes that they have gone through and trigger memories of school days past.
The next two countries carry this tradition of giving bags to children who are starting their first day of school. But they are bags in two different forms. Let’s look at the randoseru of Japan and the Schultüte of Germany.
Before a Japanese child enters his or her very first day of school life, he or she will receive a very sturdy, handmade backpack called randoseru, that may last through their entire elementary and high school years. Some of these bags are even passed down from generations . That’s how immutable and well made they are.
Randoseru represents a Japanese childhood that is carefree, traditional, and innocent (Phanthanh, 2020). They could cost a fortune though. But this value instills a sense of pride and discipline to the students so they would take good care of this prized possession and eventually pass it down to their siblings or even their future children.
Germany’s back-to-school tradition comes not in the form of a backpack but a cone-shaped package containing goodies of different sweets, candies, and cool supplies that would make a child want to go back to school pronto. This is such a wonderful idea to transition from the sweet summer snow cones and ice creams into an interesting autumn semester.
These gift bags are called Schultüte (pronounced as shool-too-teh), which literally translates to “school tote”. They can be small or even as large as the kids! Austria and Czech Republic share this same tradition with Germany.
India opens the new academic year with a festival called Pravesanolsavam or the celebration of the “School Admission Day”. It is an organized program for primary and publicly aided schools, complete with presentations, entertainment, and official announcements by the education ministers (Times of India, 2019).
Kids receive presents of various kinds, from sweets to bags to books and other school supplies. Because the academic year in the country starts in June, which also marks the start of the rainy season, the gift packages often come with umbrellas, so the children are ready to brace the monsoon rains.
Does your family have an interesting first-day-of-school tradition? We’d love to know! We hope that you have a wonderful school year ahead. We’re all excited to see you back in our inlingua centers!
Phanthanh, C. (2020, February 1). Only in Japan Blog. Retrieved July 31, 2020, from Go Go Nihon: https://gogonihon.com/en/blog/randoseru-japanese-backpack-of-every-student-in-japan/
Times of India. (2019, June 6). Kerala: New academic year begins with ‘School Praveshanolsavam’. Retrieved July 31, 2020, from The Times of India: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/videos/city/kochi/kerala-new-academic-year-begins-with-school-praveshanolsavam/videoshow/69681698.cms
By: Kriezel Daria