Diverse Winter Holiday Songs | Elementary Music

Gung Hay Fat Choy, Song for Chinese New Year, by Nancy Stewart
Ramadan Song by Nancy Stevart
Song of Diwali Traditions, YouTube

Using diverse winter holiday songs in the elementary music classroom and for performance provides the perfect opportunity to teach about cultures different from our own. Our school district has always taken the stance that we can teach and perform Christmas songs at school as long as we also teach songs of other religions and cultures as well. With the current climate in our country, I cannot tell you how important this is. Tolerance and respect for other cultures is paramount.

Diverse Winter Holidays Songs for the Elementary Grades

Music teachers are VERY busy people. We are tasked with MANY things to teach in a very short amount of time. During the holiday season, very often it seems like we have to deviate from teaching music reading and performance skills to learn an elaborate program by rote. Finding resources that cover a variety of cultures and holidays is hard enough, but we also need resources that teach musical skills while preparing students for a program. Many times holiday programs span grade levels which makes the task even more difficult.

You don’t have to “reinvent the wheel” each year. Check out a few my favorite resources that I have used for our K-5 holiday performances.

Diverse Winter Holiday Songs

DiwaliDIWALI SONG

Unfortunately, the Diwali song that I have used in the past has been taken down. I searched high and low for my perfect Diwali song but is no longer online. The YouTube link above is to a different Diwali song which sings of Diwali traditions. (Note: If you use this link in class, make sure you download it or use a site like SafeShare. It does have commercials attached.)

Below is a short video clip that my students have enjoyed.

RamadanRamadan, by Nancy Stewart

It is VERY hard to find good Ramadan songs for school. This song by Nancy Stewart is very tasteful and a great song about inclusion. The lyrics teach some basic Ramadan traditions. The last time the chorus is sung, the words change slightly to emphasize friendship, “Ramadan, Ramadan my friend celebrates Ramadan.”

And best of all, this lovely song is FREE.  You may download the Full Performance mp3 as well as the Accompaniment mp3 completely free of charge. Thank you Nancy for sharing your talents so generously.

HanukkahBurn Little Candles, arr. Frau Musik

Burn Little Candles is a simple, yet musical song of Hanukkah traditions. This arrangement includes a differentiated Orff arrangement for grades K-5. These Orff activities provide attainable performance options for young students while challenging older students. All grades will enjoy digitally lighting the Hanukkah candles and learning about Hanukkah traditions.

Click to listen to a recording of the arrangement in the video preview. (The video preview is located directly under the main cover.)

ChristmasMary Had a Baby, arr. Frau Musik

Mary Had a Baby is also simple, yet very musical Christmas song for the music classroom or your winter holiday program. This Orff arrangement works beautifully for school or church. The arrangement includes differentiated activities for grades K-5. The bongo ostinato pattern challenges students in the upper grades while simpler ostinati provide success for younger grades. Activities include the song, two pitched and two unpitched percussion accompaniment patterns, and interactive rhythm flashcards.

Click to listen to a recording of the arrangement in the video preview. (The video preview is located directly under the main cover.)

Christmas or KwanzaaAfrican Noel, arr. Frau Musik

African Noel is a joyous, energetic Winter Holiday Song with K-5 differentiated activities.  This song may be used to celebrate both Christmas & Kwanzaa. Activities include two pitched and two unpitched percussion accompaniment patterns as well as a simple step-dance for younger students. The lesson provides attainable performance options for young students while challenging older students. This arrangement makes a great performance option for both school and church.

A picture, and a recording, are worth a thousand words. Click to listen to a recording of this arrangement in the video preview. You will love this song. (Once again, the video preview is located directly under the main cover.)

For tips on teaching African Noel, check out this blog post – Winter Holidays Songs | African Noel.

Chinese New YearGung Hay Fat Choy, posted by Nancy Stewart

Gung Hay Fat Choy translates wishing you good fortune and happiness. Once again, Nancy Stewart has crafted a beautiful tasteful song for Chinese New Year and is sharing it completely FREE of charge. Download the Full Performance mp3 and the Accompaniment mp3 for your elementary music classroom. You will be glad you did. One of my school parents told me that this song touched her so much, it made her cry. She actually requested it several years in a row.

Tip: In order to avoid all the giggles and snickers from singing the word “fat”, I admit that I changed the word to “fa” with the same short a sound. We simply left off the “t”. That small change, made sure that students were all focused on the beautiful message of the song and not being silly about the lyrics.

Celebrate Diverse Cultures

I have had students from many different cultures in my music classes, children who celebrate each of these holidays, and it is important to recognize their cultures.

Using diverse winter holiday songs in the elementary music classroom and in  performances makes for a balanced program while providing musically rewarding experiences for our students and teaching music skills along the way.  Now that is a music program that MULTITASKS!

Do you have other diverse winter holiday songs that you have used at your school? Leave a comment below.

Auf Wiedersehen!

Winter Holiday Song Bundle

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