How should we celebrate parties

I want to celebrate - I need this! The value of festivals, celebrations and rituals

Life is shaped by different rhythms, such as the daily rhythm, the weekly rhythm and the annual rhythm. These make life “manageable”, phases of productivity (tension) and phases of recovery (relaxation) take turns. All these rhythms are subdivided and structured by distinctive points, i.e. caesuras. The daily rhythm is of course determined by the alternation of day and night, by meals as well as sheep and wake times. For most people, the weekend creates a change between work and private life on a weekly basis. The year is divided into seasons and fixed points, which we often celebrate in festivals, celebrations and rituals. Your own birthday as a celebration, Christmas as a festival or Mardi Gras as a ritual are just a few examples. These recurring fixed points structure the course of the year and make it manageable and manageable.

These rhythmically recurring fixed points represent special, not everyday situations for people. And people often have an exact idea of ​​how they want to spend a festival, how it should be designed, what should be part of the festival and what not. We don't think over and over about what Christmas is like every year. We have more or less ritualized Christmas. I already know today that every Christmas my family will get together, we will sing songs and after dinner we will give presents. Nothing about that will change in the foreseeable future.
To know for myself that there will be this festival at the end of each year and to know what the clear sequence of events will be gives me security. Because I know what to expect this year, the next year and the year after that. You could say I'm mentally prepared for that. And every year in the run-up to Christmas I look forward to Christmas coming soon - with everything that goes with it!

The ritualizing character of festivals and celebrations can give people a structure, and this structure in turn is charged with an individually assigned meaning. For some, Christmas can be a celebration of contemplation, contemplation and peace, where others spend Christmas together in the hustle and bustle of the extended family.
For all of us, these special points in the year have their own meaning. They bring us structure and normalcy in the handling of daily life and help us to oversee everyday life and to classify it for ourselves. In the current situation, it is all the more important to keep this functionality in mind: Corona has been an everyday issue since February 2020. At this point, parties and celebrations can help to carry on “normally”. As a comforting or simply strengthening event, they can provide orientation within a year and thus provide security in both uncertain and normal times.

Festivals and celebrations in the context of child development - building up a concept of culture

We humans are individual and social beings and want to live in community. In order for this to work, you need to make appointments. So we need an idea of ​​how we want to deal with each other, what values ​​we want to live together or how we want to align our forces together. These basic negotiated ideas about how we want to live our life in community describe our culture.

Children are now faced with the great task of building up exactly such an idea, that is, of experiencing how we live together in our community. An understanding of culture is built up by the child experiencing cultural moments in a community. In this way, children experience similar values ​​and together build a similar idea of ​​how we live together. This makes them socially acceptable.

Festivals and celebrations offer these cultural moments at this point. They bring our living environment closer to the children and make it possible to experience what defines us when we live together. You can therefore support children in developing and expanding their own concept of culture by allowing them to experience how we live and deal with one another.

Working out the time dimensions

Our children in our daycare centers want to do much more than just understand how we live together. They want to understand how that works, what surrounds them, understand what space and time are. This results in a further developmental task for the child: to work out time dimensions. This begins in the here and now and initially has no relation to hours and days or to the past or future. The child develops ideas about time through a rhythmic daily routine or recurring structural elements in the day and can gradually differentiate this and transfer it to yesterday or tomorrow. At the end of their daycare, the child has their own idea of ​​what a year could be through the previous experiences. The children in our children's homes can gain the necessary preliminary experiences in festivals and celebrations. Even without an idea of ​​a specific annual rhythm, they have rough points of orientation and thus, as already said, their own idea of ​​the year construct.

Perceiving the world aesthetically

“Education is always based on“ aesthetic experiences ”. These are sensual perceptions and their inner (classification) order based on personal assessment of meaning. "

If education is always based on “aesthetic experiences”, then there is another developmental task for the child that needs to be handled in terms of celebrations, celebrations and rituals in their educational work in daycare. The development task is to perceive the world aesthetically. Two more excerpts from the concept:

"Education only happens when people begin to deal with the impressions they get because they are individually important to them."

"In their educational work, children are therefore dependent on experiences that present themselves to them in a meaningful way, or that tie in with known benefits in kind and the existing horizon of meaning or that create new meaning."

Children perceive the world in a sensual way and through their individual assessment of meaning, whereby what matters to them is what “moves” them. So everything that ties in with your horizon of meaning. In other words, everything that is relevant or meaningful to them.

Celebrations, festivals and rituals enable the children to gain the necessary preliminary experiences in order to be able to develop an idea of ​​living together in a community. At the same time, festivals and celebrations support the children in getting to know the rhythms of life and in working out time dimensions. Festivals and celebrations thus provide orientation and create normality. Especially in our special times when dealing with Covid-19, more normality and security are needed for a healthy life.

On the basis of the perspectives that have been developed and the upcoming development tasks of the children, I finally ask myself how you will organize your facility with a view to upcoming festivities? What are the key factors in the implementation for you?

I look forward to your thoughts on this.


Carola Kammerlander, Marcus Rehn, pedagogical management group of element-i children's homes (2018): Pedagogical concept for element-i children's homes.

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