Category Archives: Holiday Songs

Tips For Learning Christmas Songs in Other Languages

Screen shot 2018-12-13 at 7.36.20 PMThe winter holidays are a fun time to explore celebrations and traditions from around the world. When you do, why not learn a favorite Christmas carol in another language? You might want to choose a language from your family’s heritage or maybe one from the community around you. Maybe you’re living as an expat in another country and want to embrace one of their favorite songs, or just reach out and expand your linguistic abilities.

Check out these helpful tips on learning a song in another language with your kids or dive right into our version of Jingle Bells in Russian below! Beneath that, we’ve included links to past posts on Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer in Japanese and Jingle Bells in Mandarin, plus a fun cheat sheet that shares holiday greetings in 18 different world languages

LANGUAGE LEARNING TIPS

Pick a song that’s fun to sing and has a catchy tune!

Pick a language from your family heritage or one you’d like to learn.

Pick a language where someone you know can help you with the lyrics or pronunciation. Will Grandma help with that song in Italian or Papou help with a carol in Greece?

If learning the whole song is too daunting (language is difficult or your kids are very young), just learn the chorus – that’s usually very easy to master.

Write out the lyrics phonetically. Break them down into easy-to-pronounce syllables.

Praise you kids (or yourself) for exploring a new language. Learning a new language is not easy but encouragement and praise help a new speaker gain both confidence and capacity!

A video of a new song or a live “singing Christmas card” makes a great gift for a grandparent or loved one abroad.

Enjoy the process as you make happy holiday memories.

Now, here’s a version of Jingle bells for anyone wishing to learn a bit of Russian this year!

Links And Resources

Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer in Japanese http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/classroom-music/favorite-holiday-songs-rudolph-the-red-nosed-reindeer-in-japanese

Jingle Bells In Chinese – http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/uncategorized/favorite-holiday-songs-from-around-the-world-jingle-bells-in-chinese/

Happy Holidays in 18 Languages – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Happy-Holidays-in-18-Languages-2230358

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Sing A Hanukkah Song From Spain!

Have you noticed the hastag #ChristmasAroundTheWorld? I love seeing how very special holidays, like Christmas and Hanukkah, are celebrated from culture to culture, with beautiful and diverse traditions. Want to celebrate #HanukkahAroundTheWorld with me?

Here’s a lovely little counting song from Spain in the Ladino language for you!

Is this Song In Spanish?

No. If you speak Spanish many of the words will sound very familiar, but the language is Ladino, a mixture of Hebrew and Spanish. Many people may not know that Jewish people traveled throughout the world bringing their meaningful customs with them. Jewish people who established communities in Spain and Portugal were often known as Sephartic Jews and many of their traditions melded with their new homeland.  Sadly, they were cruelly expelled from Spain in the late 1400’s and traveled to find new homes around the world in places such as Mexico, North Africa and even the United States.

Is The Ladino Language Still Alive?

Languages and mother tongues are so important to their speakers. A while back I shared a story about a marvelous musical mom named Sarah Aroeste who is proud to be raising her children bilingually in Ladino and English!  She even created a children’s music CD to share her Ladino language with the world.  You can check it out at the link below.

What Do The Lyrics Say?

You probably already guessed that the 1- 8 part of the song counts the candles on the menorah. I’ve added a new first verse in English because so many of my friends and fans speak English. The lyrics to the song are below with translations from the Ladino next to them.

Whether you are Jewish or not, I wish you a very beautiful holiday of lights!

OCHO KANDELIKAS – LYRICS

The holiday of lights is here
Good friends and happiness to share
Sweets with honey for us to eat
Candles to light and friends to greet

One little candle . . . (etc.)  8 little candles . . . For me

Hanukah lindo sta aki (beautiful Hanukkah is here)
ocho candelas para mi (eight candles for me)
Una kandelika, dos kandelikas,
tres kandelikas, kuatro kandelikas,
sintju kandelikas, sysh kandelikas,
sieto kandelikas, ocho kandelikas para mi

Muchas fiestas vo fazar, (There will be lots of celebrations)
con alergrias i plazar (With happiness and pleasure)
Una kandelika (etc.)

Los pastelikas vo kumer, (We will eat the sweets)
con almendrikas i la miel (With almonds and honey)
Una kandelika (etc.)

Links and Resources

Add this song to your Spotify Playlist:  https://open.spotify.com/album/7Jl8awV8rWHIZzJbcudDaa

Add this song to your Apple Music Playlist: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/celebrate-season-multicultural/id344193347

Free Lyric Pagehttps://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Ocho-Kandelikas-Hanukkah-Song-Lyric-Sheet-2239295

Sing a Song In The Ladino Language With Sarah Aroeste http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/babies-and-music/sing-a-song-in-the-ladino-language/

Gong Xi Gong Xi – What Does The Chinese New Year Song Mean?

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The phrase Gong Xi Gong Xi resounds everywhere during Chinese New Year. In fact, one translation of the New Years song explains:

(In) Every big street (and) little alley
The first sentence (we) say
When (we) see each other)

Must be” “Congratulations! Congratulations!”
Congratulations! Congratulations!
Congratulations to you!

Since it is so popular, some may think it’s a traditional song or folksong, but it was written by a popular Chinese composer, Chen Gexin, with the original title: Wishing You Prosperity and Happiness.  The literal meaning of “Gong Xi” is “congratulations”. Written by Chen Gexin on the occasion of China’s liberation after the Sino-Japanese war in 1945, the lyrics use the most popular New Year’s phrase and talk about the coming of Spring, so the song quickly became a favorite during Chinese New Year celebrations.

Here’s a version that shows the Chinese characters and gives tips on pronouncing the lyrics to the song:

Here’s a fun bilingual version of a different Chinese New Years Song with lyrics in Chinese and English. Even though it’s a different song, you can hear the same chorus of Gong Xi Gong Xi, that rings out everywhere during this beautiful and happy celebration.

Links and Resources

Gong Xi Gong Xi- About The Song Plus Lyrics https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/A-Chinese-New-year-Song-Gong-Xi-Gong-Xi-3629545

Gong Xi Gong Xi – Free Lyric Sheet (Pinyin and English)
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Gong-Xi-Gong-Xi-Free-Lyric-Sheet-3629553

Chinese New Year Astrology Chart – Find Your Birth Year Here! https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Chinese-Astrology-Chart-What-Lunar-Year-Is-It-2377484b
Make Your Own Chinese Gong – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Make-Your-Own-Chinese-Gong-From-Recycled-Materials-486935
bolang-gu-craft-versionMake a Bolang Gu – Monkey Drum https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Monkey-Drum-Chinese-New-Year-Drum-Craft-1748044

Color an Erhu – A Two-Stringed Chinese Violin https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Erhu-Chinese-Violin-Instruments-From-Around-The-World-1037355

What Are You Singing For Groundhog’s Day?

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I just love groundhog’s day!  Maybe it’s because groundhogs are so cute and cuddley. Or I was born somewhat near the permanent residence of Punxatawney Phil, official groundhog predictor of Spring. Or because groundhogs  have adorable nicknames such as whistle pigs and woodchucks.

So, for so many reasons I couldn’t just crawl back into my hole for 6 more weeks of winter and I jumped at the chance to write and record a silly Groundhog’s Day song.

groundhog pop-up hereThe simple song is based around the tongue-twister “How much wood could a woodchuck chuck… if a woodchuck could chuck wood?” I also wondered how much ground a groundhog could grind and how much sap a sapsucker could suck. And, yes, even though the lyrics are in song form, the tongue twisters still are a challenge to sing or say.

You can find the song lyric freebie below, plus a link to a sweet Springtime activity that includes pop-up puppets. It’s a fun way of having your own groundhog’s day anytime and anywhere.

And the best thing? You can laugh yourself silly while you predict an early Spring!

Links and Resources

Groundhog’s Day Song – Free Lyric Sheet – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Groundhogs-Day-Song-Lyric-Sheet-2357681

Groundhog’s Day Song From Itunes – https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-groundhog-song-how-much/id385842751

Groundhog’s Day MYO Pop-Up Puppet Activity from TPT – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Groundhogs-Day-Song-and-Pop-Up-Groundhog-Puppet-Activity-484374

little groundhogs

Caroling In Greece With A Musical Triangle!

greek carolersDid you know that many countries around the world have holiday caroling traditions? And in some places caroling is accompanied by unusual instruments or different superstitions and traditions?

My husband grew up in Greece and has fond memories of caroling with a triangle during the Christmas season. He and his brothers and sisters would go door to door and even on the bus to sing special songs with the accompaniment of a triangle. If you stopped and listened – you had to give a coin or a small donation to the carolers. What fun!

In Greece, Christmas carols are called calenda (or kalenda). Although you can hear them Greek Carolersthroughout the holiday season, there are three official caroling days – Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and January 5, the Eve of the Epiphany. During the twelve days of Christmas (December 25 – January 6th), some people in Greece keep fires lighted because of the superstition that a goblin might enter a house (by the chimney) and play tricks on people. In more modern times, you will see brightly colored lights on Christmas trees and also on boats because Saint Nicolas (aka St. Nick, aka Santa Claus) is the protector of sailors.

You can see one of the traditional carols sung here along with photos of children out caroling with their little drum and musical triangle:

In this version you can hear the song and see the English translation of the lyrics:

Wishing you all – καλάΧριστούγεννα (pronounced) kalá Christoúgenna or Merry Christmas in Greek!

Learn An Bilingual Christmas Song – Feliz Navidad

Love this song? Add it to your Spotify or Apple Music playlist and listen free at the links below this post. 

Did you know that singing the entire “Feliz Navidad” means learning only 6 new words in Spanish?  And these are definitely 6 new words and 2 phrases that you and your kids will love to use around holiday time.  Of course, you know the song. It goes like this:

Here’s our Feliz Navidad cheat sheet and a free lyric sheet below.

Feliz – Happy
Navidad - Christmas
Feliz Navidad - Happy Christmas/Merry Christmas

Prospero – Prosperous
Año – Year
Prospero Año – Prosperous Year/Happy New Year

Y – and
Felicidad – Happiness

Links And Resources

Listen on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/7Jl8awV8rWHIZzJbcudDaa
Apple Music: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/celebrate-season-multicultural/id344193347

Free Lyric Sheet – Feliz Navidad:  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Feliz-Navidad-Lyric-Sheet-2214462

Grandparents Day Music Give-Away!

grandmother toya at the senior centerThis year National Grandparents Day is September 10th.  If you were wondering, in the USA it’s always celebrated the second Sunday in September.

And around the world, there are similar annual holidays and celebrations to honor grandparents   But; honestly, any time of year is a great time to appreciate the role of that special someone or group of grands in your child’s life.

One easy and fun way to bring generations together and make lasting memories is through sharing music, especially the simple or special songs that meant a lot to grandma or granddad. In our family, our Greek Xiaxia shared a version of patty-cake in Greek that the kids remember and sing to this day. Their other grandmother loved to tell them about the silly songs she sang at school like Grandchildrens Delight Cover“Three Little Fishies” and “Jadda, Jadda Jing Jing Jing!”. Because these songs mean so much to old and young alike, I created a CD of songs that were hand-picked by my fans and audiences in response to the question: “What songs would you most like your grandkids to hear”.

The result (and it’s a give-away below) was a CD called Grandchildren’s Delight and it includes songs like You Are My Sunshine, Grand Old Flag, This Little Light of Mine, Oh Susannah, Playmate and so many more. So please, enter to win below but also remember how music can bring old and young together.

I bet there’s a special song you recall from your childhood or memory that’s just waiting to be sung to your little one!

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Favorite Songs from Your Family Or Childhood

Yes, I am still asking folks about favorite songs from their childhood or their parent’s era. Either from the USA or anywhere around the world! Do you have a special song from jump rope, summer camp or a holiday you loved?   If so, let me know. I’d love to share it with my readers and my audiences.

A Song And Kid’s Music Video For Ramadan

Ramadan videoDo you celebrate Ramadan? If you don’t, you may wish to learn more about this beautiful holiday celebrated by Muslims in almost every country around the globe!

Here’s a lovely little song and music video about the month of Ramadan that is perfect for everyone to enjoy and share! We especially love this video because it shares images of a diverse group of girls and boys from various cultures (traditional and more Western), in different situations, all celebrating Ramadan.

We also love this video because it talks about the qualities expressed and cultivated during this special time of fasting and prayer. We see children in the video embracing patience, sacrifice, mercy, kindness, being humble, not losing Ramadan video 2their temper, helping others, reading, studying and doing good works. What a lovely message for children of all religions to hear and embrace.

Plus, we like this video because it may bring up many questions that will help people have accurate information about the religion of Islam and combat Islamaphobia in their schools, communities and in the world.

How much do you know about Ramadan and Islam? Check out our discussion questions below the video.

And, in the mean time, we wish you Ramadan Mubarak (Blessed Ramadan).

Explore More

After you watch the video, here are some great discussion questions to help you or your kids understand more about Ramadan.

When is Ramadan?

How long is Ramadan celebrated.

What occasion does Ramadan celebrate?

Is Ramadan a happy or sad holiday?

What does fasting mean?

How do people fast during Ramadan?

What is the Quran?

What things can children do to celebrate Ramadan… (for instance – acts of charity).

If you were celebrating Ramadan and wanted to perform an act of charity in your community – what might you do?

A Mother’s Day Song in Spanish

te quiero mucho mamaAll over the world, people celebrate a holiday that gives thanks to moms.  In many countries – that day is a special Sunday in May – Sunday, May 15th in 2017!

“Mamá te quiero mucho” is a lovely song that speaks from the heart of a child to their mom.  The song was written by Sara Quintanar, a multi-talented Elementary School Music Educator as well as a bilingual educator, songwriter, and performer.

Enjoy the song in the video above or check out more about this wonderful artist here: http://www.musicwithsara.com

Links And Resources

A Mother’s Day Song From South Africa http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/classroom-music/a-song-for-mothers-from-south-africa/

Mother’s Day Traditions Around The World http://www.mothersdaycelebration.com/mothers-day-around-world.html

Sing A Song For Earth Day – Free Music And Resources

whole world handsMany years ago I was lucky to write a song that has now become an anthem for Earth Day in over a dozen countries around the globe. A very simple song, it’s a musical parody of the beautiful African-American spiritual: He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands.  Borrowing that melody; as is often done in folk music, we changed the lyrics to reflect what children can do to show love and respect for the Earth in their daily lives.

Original ideas for the song came from school children during a workshop about Earth Day and I compiled them in a 23 verse song since there were lots of great suggestions.  Later, I edited the choices down to a smaller number so the song would a bit shorter and easier to remember. I’m really proud to think about how singing this song reminds kids of all ages that the small changes they make in their choices in life can make a big difference – on Earth Day and everyday.

Write Your Own Earth Day Song

Since the song has such a simple format, we’ve created an activity where you can write your own Earth Day song. Sing the same simple chorus, but add your suggestions to the verses.  And there’s free sheet music, too, just check the resource links below.

Spanish Translation

A lovely, easy-to-sing Spanish version was written by Cecilia Fencer, head and heart of Spanglish.house.com. Click on that link below to find the words to the Earth Day song in Spanish.

Video

Here’s the official video for “We’ve Got The Whole World In Our Hands”.   If you want to check it out on Vimeo, you can find it here: https://vimeo.com/18765345

We’ve Got The Whole World In Our Hands

Links and Resources

Listen Free on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/track/6r6nx4qzUtWCZeXhejdxtP
Apple Music: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/daria-sings-for-earth-day-ep/428500463
Lyric Sheet Freebie From TPT: – We’ve Got The Whole World In Our Hands: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Earth-Day-Song-Lyric-Sheet-2451013
Tenemos Todo El Mundo En Nuestras Manos – An Earth Day Song In Spanish
http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/classroom-music/sing-an-earth-day-song-in-spanish/

Make An Earth Day Nature Walk Rattle: http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/early-learning-with-music/make-an-earth-day-nature-walk-rattle/

Earth Day CD and CD Plus 10 Recycled Activities: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/EARTH-DAY-CD-PLUS-E-BOOK-OF-10-RECYCLED-MUSICAL-ACTIVITIES-658096

Official Earth Day Site: http://www.earthday.org