Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Cuban Legend and A Wedding Cake

Every month I try to find a book to read with my littles that is a story from the country that we are studying. There are plenty of non fiction books as well as tons of information on the internet, that we use for researching the countries, but I also like to read books that are fiction stories, inspired by the culture that we are learning about. While searching for a book that would be good for their ages as well as being from Cuba, I found "The Child of The Sun: A Cuban Legend" Retold by Sandra Arnold.

This book is pretty hard to find (at least around here), so we had to order a used one from Amazon, but we aren't too picky about the newness of our books, now that the kids aren't little enough to be chewing on them anymore. When the book arrived Aiden and Eliana were so excited that they tore the package open and we read it right then. 

The Child of The Sun is based on a legend that is told by The Ciboney people, who were indigenous Cubans, to explain the solar eclipse. Mother Earth has two children, the sun and the moon. She asks them to take turns watching over the Earth while she sleeps. The sun decides to create a man, but the man gets lonely, so the moon creates a woman to keep the man company. The sun gets increasingly jealous that his child (the man) does not love only him and through a series of events ends up nearly killing the earth by refusing to set. As punishment, Mother Earth asks the moon to cover him up. He promises to follow the rules and the moon moves so that the sun may shine, but every now and then then the moon covers the sun to remind him of his promise. 

This story is fairly long and Eliana (age 4) got bored with it, but Aiden (age 7) really liked it. I enjoyed the story as well and the pictures were very nice. I will say that if your littles tend to get frightened easily, there were parts of the story that could be scary for them. The sun seems pretty mean and even kidnaps a baby. It has a happy ending though and we found it to be a very interesting perspective on a solar eclipse. (I have added it to my book list on the right side of the page.)

Have you read any cultural stories or folk tales lately? What kinds of books do your littles enjoy? Do they like scary ones like Aiden does, or do they only like stories that are happy from start to finish like Eliana does?

My friend Lissette has been giving me some tips along the way this month and one of the things that she did was send me photos from her grandparents' wedding in Cuba. They were all so beautiful, and I am sharing one of the photos that really fascinated me. 

I love that if you look closely, you can see kids peeking in through the window behind the bride and groom. 
I was very curious about the ribbons that all of the women were holding onto. After a bit of research, I discovered that a traditional Cuban wedding cake often had something extra. They would embed ribbons in the cake so that one end was in the cake while the other end hung loosely. At the cake end of one of the ribbons was a ring. At the wedding, all of the single women would take a ribbon and pull, the one that pulled the ribbon with the ring, would be projected to be the next bride. This is similar to a bride tossing her bouquet. 
*I also read that some families would have one ribbon that was attached to a thimble, the woman that pulled the thimble was presumed to become an old maid. Yikes! 

Coming Soon: We are busy preparing for our end of the month Cuban Celebration. Make sure you check back next week to see how we celebrated.

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