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Monday, December 30th, 2013

12 Days of Multicultural Musical Activities (Part Two)

Make a horse gong for the Chinese New Year!

Here’s part two of our 12 days of multicultural musical activities as a fun way to wrap up 2013, welcome 2104 and prepare for Chinese New Year coming in late January.


Contributed by multicultural children’s performer, DARIA, you can find the day by day list on her monthly song page, or check out highlights from the last six days here.




Perhaps you’re learning a new language as a family or keeping a second or third language alive by sharing it with your children.  Either way, you can make it more fun by learning a favorite song in another language.  Below are some easy song picks like Feliz Navidad – simple enough to teach a toddler how to say Merry Christmas in Spanish.  And there are songs that might help you master tougher skills like Japanese pronunciation (Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer in Japanese) or Chinese tones (Jingle Bells in Mandarin).  There’s also a version of Jingle Bells with 18 different holiday greetings from around the world, so feel free to laugh and sing as you jingle all the way.


Feliz Navidad With Cheat Sheet For Non-Spanish Speakers

Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer in Japanese

Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer in Finnish

Jingle Bells in Mandarin Chinese


Jingle Bells (English With 18 Different Holiday Greetings)




The winter solstice and cold days of December may be a good time to walk in the woods and reconnect with nature.  If you find a branch shaped like the letter “Y” you can easily craft a sistrum, a type of rattle that dates back to ancient Egypt and the time of the pyramids.  No forests nearby?  There’s also a second version made of household items to create this unique instrument at home.


Winter Woods Egyptian Sistrum

Recycled Clothes Hanger Egyptian Sistrum




January 31st marks the Chinese New Year!  What a wonderful time for special foods, red envelopes, dancing dragons, fireworks and – of course – a gong!  As we enter the year of the horse and you can turn a used pie tin or turkey roasting pan into a real working gong decorated with the symbol of the coming year.  Or check out the link below to see all 12 symbols and a chart where you can find out if your birth year makes you a pig, a rat, a tiger, a sheep, a monkey or even a dragon!


To explore some of the other unusual instruments found in this region of the world, check out the make-your-own craft below and find out more about Tibetan handbells as well as singing bowls.


Make Your Own Chinese Gong

Make Your Own Tinghsa Handbells


Darias-homemade-gong  jingle-bells-chineseSistrum-poster- playing-the-tingsha

© 2013, Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou. All rights reserved.

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Award-winning children’s performer, DARIA (Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou) has six cd’s that have won national honors. She has the most awesome job of traveling the world to sing for kids and peace. Her website, located at, was given a 2009 Parent's Choice Award for its musical and cultural content.

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