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Alternate Activity 2: Matching Holidays and Sources (15 minutes), Session 5: Unitarian Universalism

In "Amazing Grace," a Tapestry of Faith program

Materials for Activity

  • Leader Resource 3, Holidays and UU Sources
  • Pencils
  • Optional: Markers and paper or card stock for a more active approach

Preparation for Activity

  • Review the resource page and decide whether you wish to add any holidays to the list.
  • Copy the resource page for all participants or, if you want a more active approach, make a single copy and cut it apart.

Description of Activity

In this activity, youth consider how various UU Sources connect with the holidays they celebrate.

Say that you have talked some about how UUs connect with different Sources. Now you will think about how those various Sources affect our lives outside our congregation.

Distribute copies of the resource page and pencils to youth. Ask them to follow the instructions and put the letters representing the Sources in the spaces next to the holidays.

Active option: If you have time and want a more active approach, make a single copy of the resource page and cut apart the list of holidays. Write the names of the Sources on individual pieces of paper or card stock, in letters large enough so everyone can see them from a distance. Place these names at various spots around the room. Distribute the holidays to youth and ask them to move around the room and place their holidays with the names of appropriate Sources.

When the youth have finished, talk about their ideas. Say that there are no real right and wrong answers, because the more you think about things, the more connections you can find between Sources and holidays. For example, you might think of Christopher Columbus as a prophetic man. But then you might also add Christian teachings to the Columbus Day line, because his Catholic religion was important to Columbus. In fact, he said one reason he wanted to travel was to convert people to Catholicism. Some UUs do not celebrate Columbus Day because they do not approve of the way explorers exploited native people. Ask the following questions to aid discussion:

  • Which of our UU Sources are most honored by our holidays?
  • Does your congregation celebrate other religions' holidays? Why do you think this is appropriate or inappropriate?

Tell participants that sometimes there is a thin line between cultural sharing and cultural theft or misappropriation.

One way to respect and maintain that line is to admit that a holiday might not mean the same to us as it does to followers of the other religion. For instance, many UUs celebrate Christmas, even though some UUs do not think Jesus was a divine birth; Christian UUs, however, might disagree.

Another way is to honor the original culture is by acknowledging that its members created the celebration. For example, some would not display a Kwanzaa table without explaining that Kwanzaa is an African American holiday created to remind African Americans of their Afro-Caribbean heritage.

Including All Participants

If your group includes youth with poor reading and academic skills, offer individual help as necessary or consider going through the page as a group and asking people to suggest aloud which letter goes where.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Wednesday, October 26, 2011.

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