The holidays around the world: in November 2023. Explore the culture and traditions of global holidays with your kids!

Dutch for Children: language and culture in November 2023

Dutch for Children is an internationally focused Dutch school with students in and outside the Netherlands. We understand how important it is to introduce children to different cultures and traditions. It opens their minds to the diversity of our world. It enriches their experiences in a unique way. That’s why we invite you and your children to take a journey through the fascinating world of global holidays in 2023.

In this blog, we will take you on a fascinating journey through diverse celebrations that take place in different parts of the world in November: All Saints and All Souls Day, Dia de los Muertos, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. Discover what these holidays mean and how children celebrate, learn from, and enjoy them.

Whether you’re looking for inspiration for fun family activities, cultural education for your kids, or just curious about how these celebrations are celebrated elsewhere, this blog is sure to captivate.

All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day: What is it?

Two Christian holidays celebrated in many countries around the world are All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. All Saints’ Day falls on Nov. 1. This is a day when Christians honor the saints of the Church. All Souls’ Day follows on November 2, when people commemorate their deceased loved ones.

For children in the Netherlands, All Saints’ Day often means a day off from school. Some families visit the church and bring flowers to the graves of deceased family members on All Souls’ Day. It is a time to come together as a family and share memories.

In class, we talk about family, people who are important to you, and dying. We also talk with the older children about the history and background of these holidays.

Dealing with loss is not easy. Books can help children with that. The book “Grandpa and Little Bear” by Nigel Gray and Vanessa Cabban is highly recommended for younger children. You can listen to and watch this story together in Dutch through this link. With older children, you can listen to and watch this story. “How Grandma Got Smaller and Smaller. For students around 11. 12, we at Dutch for Children use Doodgewoon in the classroom. A nice integer lesson design: In a light-hearted way and with interactive work forms, answers are given to many questions. This way, the students experience that death is not a scary topic, but part of life.

Dia de los Muertos, one of the world holidays in November 2023

Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead. This is a colorful and lively celebration. It is celebrated in Mexico, Colombia, and Spain, among other places. It falls on Nov. 1 and 2 and is a time when people honor and remember their deceased loved ones.

Children in Mexico often participate in the festivities by eating sugary treats. Such as calaveras (sugar skulls) and pan de muerto (dead bread). They may also participate in making altars. These honor their deceased family members with pictures, candles, and favorite foods of the deceased.

On All Souls’ Day, in class, we pay attention to farewells remembrance, and how this is done in different countries.

Halloween Trick or Treat

Halloween was originally a Celtic celebration. It is now mainly known in the United States, but people in the Netherlands also find this party increasingly fun. Halloween falls on October 31, 2023. This is the day when children dress up in costumes and go past the doors to collect candy by shouting “trick or treat.”

For children in the Netherlands and other parts of the world, Halloween is a chance to dress up and have fun with friends. They can carve pumpkins, make spooky decorations, and enjoy candy. Older children organize Halloween parties or watch horror movies with friends.

Dutch for Children’s favorite class activities are Deciphering the secret writing horror, making a horror elf (poem), the “witches” theme lesson, and the “Would you rather…. or. play on Halloween?” game.

What is Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is an American holiday that falls on the fourth Thursday of November. It is a time when people come together to show gratitude. Gratitude for the harvest and blessings of the past year. One of the most distinctive aspects of Thanksgiving is the big feast, including turkey, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie.

Originally, Thanksgiving dates back to 1621. In that year, the Pilgrim Fathers, the first English pilgrims, celebrated in a big way. They founded their settlement in 1621 in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and had a good harvest.

Only later, in 1864, did Thanksgiving become a national holiday. And Americans owe that extra day off to President Abraham Lincoln. After all, he wanted to establish a Thanksgiving day during the American Civil War—a day to reflect on everyday things and be thankful to God.

On the day after Thanksgiving, stores in America celebrate Black Friday: high discounts and stunt deals. Many Americans then begin their Christmas shopping. Because of the crowds, that day is called Black Friday.

Why turkey at Thanksgiving?

At that time in Europe, turkey was popular to be eaten at Christmas. In America, an even bigger species of turkey lived. And that’s why they started eating turkey at Thanksgiving.

Willem Weaver explains here why Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving.


Saint Martins Holiday 2023

Who among Dutch parents does not know this little sweetheart of a song? This is translated from Dutch.

Saint Martin, Saint Martin, the cows have tails.
The girls have skirts on. Here comes Saint Martin.
Give an apple or a pear. I won’t come again for the whole year.
The whole year that takes so long, until my light can burn.

This song children sing on November 11 along the doors to “beg” for some candy.

The history of the feast of Saint Martin

The name of the Saint Martin feast comes from Martin of Tours (who lived from 461 to 490). He set an example by cutting off half of his cloak and giving it away to a beggar. So originally, St. Martin is a feast of begging for poor children, who march past houses singing. They went past the doors with lanterns on his feast day, hoping for something good to get through the winter.

Saint Martin’s Day 2023

Celebrated on Nov. 11, it is now a children’s festival where the lanterns and songs provide additional illumination and musical accompaniment. Special parades are also organized in many villages and towns. The tradition is not reserved for a particular religion and is therefore celebrated by everyone.

During the NTC lessons

During the Dutch language and culture lessons at Dutch for Children, we only pay attention to this if it is part of the student’s perception. Some children are more familiar with Halloween because they have lived in the USA for some time or attended an international school.

Children or parents with something to do with this tradition are, of course, at their beck and call by learning the famous St. Martin song, among other things, and watching a video on Schooltv or a lesson on lanterns.

Learning moments during the world holidays in November 2023


Are you interested in the appealing learning activities mentioned in this blog? Then email us with the name of the holiday and the activity, and we will email them to you as soon as possible.

In this blog, we have now discussed four different holidays worldwide in November 2023. Each has its own unique meaning and traditions. Whether you celebrate All Saints and All Souls Day or commemorate Dia de los Muertos. Celebrate Halloween with “trick or treat,” or give thanks with Thanksgiving. All of these holidays can be valuable learning moments for children. More blogs about holidays around this world are sure to follow.