Make A Drum That Sounds Like The Ocean!

traditional ocean drumHave you ever heard an ocean drum?  It’s an amazing instrument that sounds almost exactly like the soothing sounds of the surf?  And – guess what?  It’s  a quiet instrument!  It’s great for music and meditation as well as a quiet time activity.  And it’s also perfect project to make and play for for any child or adult on the autistic spectrum.

And, you can make it from all recycled materials!

What Is An Ocean Drum?

It looks like a frame drum from the Middle East, but it is filled with small round objects that, when tilted back and forth, sound remarkably like the waves at the seashore.  It’s sound is soothing and when ocean drums are filled with colorful or interesting objects, they are as beautiful to watch as they are to hear.

apple pie ocean drum suppliesHere are the supplies you need to make one ocean drum:

  • A sturdy box: Flat shipping boxes, or any sturdy small box
  • Clear plastic: You can recycle old report covers, salad bar containers, clear tablecloth covers or purchase a small amount of clear vinyl at a fabric or hardware store. Hint: Don’t use plastic wrap as it simply won’t hold up to the task.
  • Strong tape: Packing tape, masking tape, or electrical tape are good choices.
  • Contents for the drum: Choose any small fillings such as seed beads, pastina pasta, acini de pepe pasta, orzo, pony beads, mung beans, lentils, dried beans, marbles, or small pebbles.

How To Make It

Start with a sturdy box.  It’s a good idea to decorate your box before experimenting with what you want to put inside.  If you started with a plain box from a stationery supply store, you have a clean slate to create an ocean motif or ocean drums makingdecorate with paint, crayons, markers or glitter and glue. If you have an overly busy box, like a pizza box, you may wish to cover it with colored paper (leaving space for the window, of course) and decorate from there.

Next, create the window so you can watch the smaller items move around inside the drum. To do this, get some sturdy clear plastic and cut it into a large square or rectangle.  Draw a slightly smaller square or rectangle on the inside of the top of your ocean drum box and cut it out. Secure the window in place inside the box using a strong tape such as packing tape, electrical tape, or masking tape.

Now choose something to create the sound of the surf. Small, round objects make a sound that is closest to a real ocean drum.  However, you can get creative with what you’d like to try. You can choose tiny pasta like acini de pepe, pastina pasta, seed beads, bee bees, or mung beans. You can fill your drum with lentils, dried peas, marbles, pony beads, larger beans, or orzo pasta for a louder drum. You can mix and match to see what sounds best to your ear.

You may also want to make it interesting by adding colorful beads or other items like marbles, buttons, glitter or confetti that will add to the visual appeal of the drum.

Once you’ve chosen what you want to go inside, you are ready to seal the drum. Cover it with packing tape so that the contents will stay inside.  Seal up all the edges where the smaller objects might come out and then you’re ready to play your ocean drum.

ocean drum sall of usPlaying The Ocean Drum

This is a fun instrument to explore.  Here are a few techniques you can use when playing it:

Tilt it back and forth at gentle angles

Tilt it back and forth at more extreme angles

Tilt the drum for a gentle swooshing sound then turn it on its side to stop the sound

Tap the sides or top with your fingertips  

Shake your instrument as if it were a rattle. 

Many people find the sound and the changing patterns very calming and meditative. You can relax and play it without any other accompaniment or you can play this instrument along with soothing music or any of your favorite songs.  Try to match the beat by tilting the ocean drum along with the rhythms of the song.

If you enjoy this type of drum, you may want to make several as each one will have a distinct sound or might fit better with different musical styles that you enjoy.

Feel free to experiment and make this unusual instrument all your own!

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Seashell Trumpets Around The World

Nagak Seashell trumpet from KoreaDid you know a seashell can be a musical instrument?

Years ago, I saw a picture of a conch shell used as a trumpet in an ancient Aztec drawing. As I’ve visited other counties, I’ve discovered that large shells have been used in many different ways in ancient and modern times, all over the world.

Here are just a few of the world music traditions that use sea shells as natural trumpets and horns.

MEXICO

In Aztec culture, the shell trumpet was very symbolic and often associated with the breath of life as well as the rhythms of the sea. Similarly, it was associated aztec conch trumpetwith the call to prayer, marking time during the day and night, rhythms of the moon, fertility and with Ehécatl – the Aztec God of the Wind.

Here is the first picture that piqued my curiosity. It is a musician called a “quiquizoani” playing the conch trumpet. Researchers found 7 different types of conch shell trumpets played in the ancient Aztec culture of Mexico. They also discovered that conch shell trumpets were used by the Aztec military in a manner similar to modern day bugles.

One of the best sites for information on Aztec instruments, including great pictures from important archeological sites is Mexicolore.com. You can find Mexico Lore’s conch shell page here: 
http://www.mexicolore.co.uk/aztecs/music/conch-trumpet

KOREA

A nagak is a large elegant seashell used as a trumpet, mainly in military parades. You can see it above in a photo of a procession at the royal place in Seoul, Korea. Also called the na, sora or godong, it is made from the shell of a sea snail that is sometimes called Triton’s Trumpet.

JAPAN

horagaiIn Japan, large conch shells called Horagai (法螺貝) (or jinkai (陣貝) have been used as trumpets for many centuries. Special schools still teach students to play the traditional music associated with the conch.

In ancient times, conch trumpets were used by certain sects of Buddhist monks to signal their movements across mountains or to accompany religious chanting. Unlike shell trumpets from other parts of the world, Japanese shell trumpets are fitted with mouthpieces of bamboo or bronze that allow them to create several different notes rather than just one single trumpet blast. Samurai used the war shell; known as the jinkai, as a communication device during battles. Playing different combination of notes would signal warriors to attack, withdraw, or change strategies during battle. Here is an example of the Japanese shell trumpet where you can hear the different notes being played:

PUEBLO CULTURE (USA)

Although the location is many days travel from the ocean, conch shell trumpets were found in the burial chambers of recently discovered (Native American) Pueblo ruins in New Mexico. You can read about what else was discovered there, here: https://makingmulticulturalmusic.wordpress.com/2017/02/22/conch-trumpets-flutes-and-turquoise-beads-treasured-items-of-an-ancient-culture/

FLORIDA (USA)

Not to be left out, there is a conch shell trumpet contest every year in the Florida Keys. Adults and kids participate and try to make beautiful music – or at least long sustained blasts – from their own gorgeous shells.

You can check out some of the champion “conch honkers” from the 50th anniversary contest in Key West, here:

This Earth Day – Turn Plastic Into Something Fantastic!

Screen shot 2018-04-19 at 11.38.43 PMThis year’s Earth Day theme is End Plastic Waste! We hope you’ve been reading about this topic and moved to make changes in your own life. But, what about plastic you already have in your recycling bin? Creating fun recycling projects with kids will help them see plastic waste as more than just “use it and lose it” trash. As you practice the 5 R’s (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Remove) you can upcycle out of the waste cycle into 5 great-sounding musical instruments.

This Earth Day, I’m offering my TURN PLASTIC INTO MUSIC E-book free, and you can download it at the link below. (If you are an educator with a limited budget and read this post after the E-book has returned to full price, you can always e-mail me at dariamusic at yahoo dot com for an educator’s copy.)Screen shot 2018-04-19 at 11.38.58 PM

The five projects in this book include amazing-sounding maracas from mini-sized water bottles, Latin American guiros and Aboriginal bullroarers from plastic bottles with various sizes of mouths. There’s also two crafts that use plastic straws – zampoñas or panpipes and a kaleidoscope straw rattle.

And really… wouldn’t you rather make music than contribute to something like this?  Below is a video taken in Cameroon, Africa several year ago.  This year school children in this region are committed to ending plastic waste and changing what you see here!

Links And Resources

TURN PLASTIC INTO MUSIC – E-book Free Until Earth Day 2018 https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Recycling-Projects-TURN-PLASTIC-INTO-MUSIC-5-Multicultural-Music-Activities-3747012

 Earth Day Organization – Tool kits for Individuals, Schools, Organizations, and More! https://www.earthday.org/

5 R's official posterFree 5 R’s poster - https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/5-Rs-RESPECT-THE-EARTH-Earth-Day-Poster-Freebie-3743747

How Long Does It Take Garbage To Decompose https://www.thebalance.com/how-long-does-it-take-garbage-to-decompose-2878033

Meet The Zero Waste Pioneers https://us-mg5.mail.yahoo.com/neo/launch?.rand=0fm9p2d7jlhgu#4735222175

Scientists Discover Enzyme That Eats Plastic https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/scientists-accidentally-create-super-enzyme-that-can-devour-plastic-pollution/

Báte Báte – It’s Time For Mexican Hot Chocolate!

Want to add some musical hot chocolate to your favorite playlists? Spotify, Apple Music and Pandora listening links to DARIA’s version of this great song are below.

A lot of people recognize the song from the PBS show Dora The Explorer. But did you know that “Báte, Báte Chocoláte” is probably about 400 years old, first appearing as a counting rhyme in schoolbooks written in Spain? Wow, that’s an ancient song, but one that is so easy and fun to sing.

If you don’t speak Spanish, here’s a bit of an explanation of the song.

The song counts to three in Spanish (uno, dos tres), then it progressively spells out the word “chocolate”(CHO CO LA TE).  The word “báte” is from the Spanish verb “batear” meaning to whip or beat (like you might beat cake batter or whip homemade frosting with a mixer).  Why is the chocolate being beaten or whipped?  That’s how the drink is prepared.

To make Mexican hot chocolate, you put all the ingredients together and heat Mixing The Chocolate from Patithem up. As you do, you use a special carved stick called a molinillo that is rubbed between your hands to create the frothiness and delicious texture that makes this such a special treat! Although this was mainly considered a breakfast treat in Mexico, it’s hard to imagine it not being delicious any time of the day or night.

So sing along, or better yet, whip up some hot chocolate while you enjoy the song, especially if the weather is cold and frosty!

Links And Resources

Listen on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/track/2osmKIhdalG0si6IjQri3j
Apple Music:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/beautiful-rainbow-world/id208109471
Pandora: https://www.pandora.com/artist/dora-the…/bate-bate-chocolate/TRlVgkxZ6rxkcwK

Free Lyric Sheet for Báte, Báte Chocoláte
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Bate-Bate-Chocolate-Free-Lyric-Sheet-3732121
Báte, Báte Chocolate – On Itunes
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/do-the-limbo/id208109471?i=208109484&ign-mpt=uo%3D6
abuelita  chocolateBáte, Báte Chocolate – On Amazon mp3
http://amzn.com/B0013XM8LCDirections For Mexican Hot Chocolate From Pati’s Mexican Table: (Photo above is courtesy of Pati’s Mexican Table – An Excellent site for exploring Mexican Cooking!)
http://www.patismexicantable.com/2010/02/ancient_ways_for_comfort_in_cold_days_mexican_hot_chocolate/
Directions For Mexican Hot Chocolate From Multicultural Cooking Network  http://multiculturalcookingnetwork.wordpress.com/2009/10/12/authentic-mexican-hot-chocolate-recipe/

Are you Un Poco Loco about Disney’s Coco?

miguel and guitar

Have you fallen in love with Disney’s Coco?

This beautifully drawn and animated new movie follows a young boy whose desire to follow his heart and make music takes him all the way to the land of the dead – and back again.  No spoilers here but I can tell you that the movie will delight the youngest to the oldest members of your family.  And it definitely will leave you singing!

One of our favorite songs from the movie is called Un Poco Loco, meaning a little bit crazy. Although it’s not a traditional mariachi song – it’s a new song composed by Germaine Franco and Adrian Molina – it has the wonderful feel and sense of humor of classic songs from this style.

If you speak Spanish, you’ll probably laugh and giggled throughout the song that weaves back and forth through both languages. If you don’t, I’ve shared the lyrics as a cheat sheet with the English translations listed next to the Spanish words.

And, do you want to continue the musical fun after you’ve seen the movie and sung along with this song? Below are several additional activities you can do to learn more about the marvelous music and magic of Mexico!

Un Poco Loco (A Little Bit Crazy)

Miguel sings – What color’s the sky?

¡Ay, mi amor! ¡Ay, mi amor! (Oh! My love, oh my love)

You tell me that it’s red

¡Ay, mi amor! ¡Ay, mi amor! (Oh! My love, oh my love)

Where should I put my shoes
?

¡Ay, mi amor! ¡Ay, mi amor! (Oh! My love, oh my love)

You say, “put them on your head”

¡Ay, mi amor! ¡Ay, mi amor! (Oh! My love, oh my love)

You make me un poco loco (a little bit crazy)

Un poquititito loco (a little, little bit crazy)
poquititito loco (little, little bit crazy)

The way you keep me guessing, I’m nodding and I’m yessing

I’ll count it as a blessing
, That I’m only un poco loco!

 (a little bit crazy)

Héctor sings: 
The loco (crazy) that you make me

It is just un poco crazy (a little bit crazy)

The sense that you’re not making

Miguel sings:
The liberties that you’re taking

Miguel and Héctor sing: 
Leaves my cabeza (head) shaking

You are just un poco loco (a little bit crazy)

Un poquititi-ti-ti-ti-ti-ti-ti-ti-ti-ti-ti-ti-to loco!
(A little, little, little, little, little, little, little bit crazy!)

Mariachi Guitar Coloring PageLinks And Resources

Color A Mariachi Guitar - https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Mariachi-Guitar-Coloring-Page-2511636

Day of the Dead “Color the Skulls” Banner Freebie!  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Dia-De-Los-Muertos-Color-The-Skulls-Banners-4094429

Make a Guiro - http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/uncategorized/easiest-instruments-for-young-children-the-guiro/

Three Music Crafts For 5 de Mayo - http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/uncategorized/3-great-music-crafts-for-cinco-de-mayo/

More Than 50 Freebies For Music In Our Schools Month!

Screen shot 2018-01-17 at 3.45.16 PMIn the USA, March is Music In Our Schools month!  Although it’s my opinion that music makes any school day better, it’s nice to see a whole month dedicated to how music enriches our childrens’ academic and personal lives. So, rock on, you wonderful teachers and music teachers!

And what’s better than music?  How about music freebies!  As I’ve created the multicultural music books and resources on my TPT (Teachers Pay Teachers) store, I’ve tried to break out as many freebies as possible.  I have dozens of friends that are teachers and the one thing I hear over and over again is that they lack any real budget (or any budget at all) for extra classroom materials to enrich their lessons. Especially for the diverse classroom or a classroom where the teacher wants to share world cultures through arts and music.

Several years ago I got a wonderful note from a teacher.  She thanked me for some of my freebies focusing on music traditions from Asia and India. Her manjira iconschool had just welcomed a wave of refugees from that area and they were teaching the whole school about music from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.  One of the parents brought in traditional music and played it for the children.  The kids loved coloring the instruments they heard (from my coloring pages) and it started lots of new conversations about customs, families, holidays and favorite topics like food.  I love seeing that my resources could be used not just for learning but for inclusive activities and bringing together schools and communities.

So in that spirit, here are direct links to 20 of my most popular freebies, but you can also follow me on TPT or bookmark the freebie section as new items are being added almost every week.  Just drop by and visit me at:  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/World-Music-With-Daria

Coloring Pages

Color Your Own Panpipes  - https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Color-the-Zamponas-Panpipes-From-The-Andes-650601

Color Your Own Tabla Drums – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Tabla-Drums-Free-Coloring-Page-2682617

Mariachi Guitar Coloring PageColor Your Own Mariachi Guitar – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Mariachi-Guitar-Coloring-Page-2511636

Color Your Own Ukulele – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Ukulele-Coloring-Page-3017260

Color Your Own Egyptian Rattle -  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Color-An-Ancient-Egyptian-Rattle-The-Sistrum-2166721

Color Your Own Andean Drum – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Color-A-Bombo-A-Drum-From-The-Andes-650642

Color Your Own Doumbek Middle Eastern Drum – shttps://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Middle-Eastern-Drums-Doumbek-Background-Coloring-Page-2049118

Color Your Own Tabla Drums Mongolian Horsehead Fiddle – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Mongolian-Horsehead-Fiddle-Free-Coloring-Page-3578368

Instrument Making Activities

Make Your Own Chinese Gong – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Make-Your-Own-Chinese-Gong-From-Recycled-Materials-486935

cajon iconMake Your Own Cajón Box Drum – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Cajon-Make-And-Play-Your-Own-Box-Drum-1236616

Make Your Own Button Castanets – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Button-Castenets-Tutorial-3436732

Make Your Own Easy African Drum - https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Make-Your-Own-African-Drum-Craft-3507618

Introduction To World Music Instruments

How Is A Didgeridoo Made?  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/How-is-A-Didgeridoo-Made-3429295

WIA didgeridooWhat is A Quijada Jawbone Instrument – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/What-is-a-Quijada-Jawbone-Instrument-1406336

What Are Chapchas?
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Color-The-Chapchas-An-Instrument-from-The-Andes-650050

What Is The Puerto Rican Cuatro?
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Cuatro-National-Instrument-of-Puerto-Rico-Free-Coloring-Page-3485455

World Music and Popular Song Lyric Sheets

The Earth Day Song – Lyric Sheet
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Earth-Day-Song-Lyric-Sheet-2451013

The I Have A Dream Song MLK Day – Lyric Sheet
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/MLK-Day-Song-I-Have-A-Dream-Free-Lyric-Sheet-2292068

Here Come Our Mothers - Lyric SheetA Mother’s Day Song From Africa – Lyric Sheet
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Mothers-Day-Song-From-Africa-Free-Lyric-Sheet-2533301

Chinese New Year Song – Lyric Sheet
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Gong-Xi-Gong-Xi-Free-Lyric-Sheet-3629553

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

Screen shot 2018-02-06 at 3.41.48 PM

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?

Daria_GroundhogCover_Web

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

Travel To Mongolia and Discover The Morin Khuur!

It’s wonderful if you can travel with your children to beautiful and exotic places around the world.  But, if you can’t, you can always spend time reading about other countries, discovering their cultures and listening to their unique and beautiful traditional music.

Can you imagine a trip to Mongolia?  Known as the “Land of the Eternal Blue Sky, it’s the birthplace of Ghengis Khan and home to camels and reindeer.  It’s a place of extreme temperatures and equally striking beauty.  It’s theScreen shot 2018-01-17 at 3.45.16 PM birthplace of “throat-singing” and the home of an instrument called morin khuur.

The morin khurr or horsehead fiddle is the national instrument of Mongolia and is often said to symbolize the deep and connected relationship between horses and people in this region of the world.  Similar to the erhu from China, it has only 2 string and is played with a bow.  You can hear it’s unique sound and playing style in this video of a song titled “My Father. My Hero”.

We’ve just created a morin khurr poster and freebie coloring page as part of our “Stringed Instruments of The World” series. You can find a link to them below.  If you’d like to visit other regions of the world through music, you can also check out some of our other music mini-courses below.

Links and Resources

Morin Khuur -Freebie coloring page -  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Mongolian-Horsehead-Fiddle-Free-Coloring-Page-3578368

Morin Khuur – poster and coloring page - https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Morin-Khuur-Mongolian-Fiddle-3578353

Visit Australia – Music Mini-Series -  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Australian-Aboriginal-Instruments-Music-Mini-Course-2816723

Instruments of India coverVisit India – Music Mini-Series – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Instruments-of-India-Mini-Course-2682389

Visit The Andes – E-Book and CD – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/A-Childs-Life-In-The-Andes-E-Book-Plus-Music-CD-639838

Hispanic Heritage – Music Craft And Coloring Book https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Celebrate-Hispanic-Heritage-Musical-Craft-And-Coloring-E-Book-1427919

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!