For many children in the Northern Hemisphere, the summer vacation is drawing to a close, and it’s almost the first day of school again. This is an important event around the world, and each year, millions of children start their educational journey and discover the joys of learning. Check this article out for a host of first day of school traditions from around the world, including German Schultüte, Indian umbrellas, Japanese randoseru and more!
First day of school traditions worldwide
#1 Getting a Schultüte in Germany
First graders are treated to a cone of goodies, packed with sweets, school supplies and small gifts. These Schultüte can be purchased from stores during the summer holidays, but many parents choose to make their own. Literally translated as school bags, the tradition of giving Schultüte goes back to the late 18th century. That said, they have become much more complicated in more recent years! Other countries such as Austria have a similar tradition of giving school cones to first-graders.
#2 A bouquet of flowers in Russia
Knowledge Day (День Знаний ) is celebrated on September 1st each year. In fact, even if this day falls on a Saturday, children will still attend celebrations and honor the first day of school traditions. First year students often give bouquets of flowers to their teachers, and in return they receive a balloon. It is a formal day and the girls tend to wear white ribbons in their hair or tied to their clothes. This was first implemented by the Soviet Union in 1984, and so a similar tradition also applies in other countries that were part of the USSR at the time.
#3 Friends ceremony in Kazakhstan
In Kazakhstan, kids begin their education on Tyl Ashar, which is basically the day of ‘Initiation into Education’. Teachers and parents often arrange a ceremony and a feast, with the new students getting together to make friends. Each pupil brings the teacher one flower, which she or he then adds to a class bouquet. Children will also receive a gift from their parents, which traditionally includes sweets, a candle and a pencil.
#4 First Randoseru in Japan
In Japan, the school year starts in April, and the first day of school is an important day in Japanese culture. Each student gets a stiff backpack known as a randoseru. This is an important first day of school tradition, with these bags being quite expensive. They are bought to last for the entire school journey, and they help to teach kids about the value of their possessions. On their first day, they also eat a special lunch of rice with seaweed sauce and quail eggs that promises to provide good luck throughout the year.
#5 An umbrella during Monsoon season in India
The first day of school traditions in India is celebrated on Admission Day, or praveshanotshavan. To honor this special day, pupils receive small gifts, which usually includes an umbrella. This is because school starts somewhere in May or June, which is also the start of the monsoon.
#6. Smock wearing in Italy
In Italy, the first day of school traditions is marked by wearing a work smock known as as grembiule. Traditionally, boys wear blue and white checked, while girls wear pink and red in kindergarten and then deep blue from first grade onwards. This tradition has changed a lot over the years, and many children now have cool designs on their smocks, or have them personalized with their name. The only rule is you must also wear a specific color of ribbon to indicate what grade you are in,
#7 Riding the bakfietsen back to school in Holland
Commuting to work or school by bike is very popular in Holland. It is all about sustainability, and the children’s first day of school traditions are just the same. Children ride to school in a cargo bike, or bakfietsen, which features a box on the front. Parents pedal behind. As well as being eco-friendly, it also looks like a super fun method of transport!
#8 A sense of community counts in Indonesia
First day of school traditions are all about getting to know each other in Indonesia. Schools hold activities to promote a sense of community and to help the children get better acquainted. Also known as the orientation phases, they are divided into peer groups and activities are then led by seniors and older pupils.
As the summer holidays begin to draw to a close, parents everywhere are rejoicing with the start of the new school term. Back-to-school traditions are a great way to mark this special occasion for those beginning their school life.
Do you have any first day of school traditions where you live?
Cover photo by Orbon Alija via GettyImages.