Starting school traditions from around the world
It’s back to school week in England. If your little one is starting school for the first time this September, chances are feelings are high for both parents and children, whether that’s with nerves or excitement.
Here in the UK we don’t have much in the way of ‘starting’ traditions beyond the obligatory photo in slightly oversized uniform! The focus is more on finishing, with graduation ceremonies and leaver’s assemblies.
But starting with spirits high can set the tone for the whole year. So, we invite you to get inspired by traditions from around the world and mark the moment in style.
German parents or grandparents give children Schultüte, a ‘school cone’ when they start elementary school (at age six). The cones are traditionally filled with sweets, but may also contain small gifts, such as stationery supplies or toys. The tradition dates back to the early 19th century and is intended to make the experience of starting school a sweeter one.
The Japanese school year starts in April, and children start elementary school at age six. On their first day, Japanese children are given a randoseru, a firm-sided backpack for their school supplies. Children keep this bag throughout their grade school years, so it’s a significant moment. Traditionally a packed lunch of rice with seaweed sauce and quails’ eggs is believed to bring good luck for the year ahead.
Many schools in India hold a celebratory Praveshanotsavam or Admission Day. Children are welcomed to school by teachers with sweets and school supplies, and gifts are exchanged. As the school year starts in June, just before the start of the monsoon season, umbrellas are a common gift (perhaps our waterproofs would be a good idea too?!).
Children in Kazakhstan typically start school at age six or seven. On the first day of school, each child brings a flower for the teacher, which is gathered into a bouquet and represents growth and hope for the year ahead. Children are often given lollipops in exchange.
Children and their families in Russia celebrate a Day of Knowledge on 1st September every year – even if the date falls on a weekend. It’s an important occasion with everyone dressing up, and being introduced to school staff. Teachers are presented with flowers, then festivities continue with entertainment and puppet shows. The ringing of bells at the end of the day marks the end of summer, the start of autumn and the start of the school year.
So whether it’s with flowers, treats, special stationery or spending time together, we hope you’ll find ways to mark this transitional time of year and look forward to a year of fun, growth and adventure ahead.