School adopts Brazilian custom of Children’s Day

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On Thursday, Oct. 10, Edgartown School children, parents, and staff will celebrate Children’s Day, or Dia das Crianças, as the nearly 100-year-old custom is called in Brazil.

Principal Shelley Einbinder told The Times the daylong event includes food (breakfast and lunch) and classes that will reflect the spirit of the day. “This is a big celebration in Brazil. The idea for the day came from staff, and as the idea developed, parents have responded enthusiastically — many will join kids for breakfast and lunch. There’s a buzz about it, a lot of excitement among the kids and staff here,” she said. 

Some of the fervor may be related to the efforts of Gina Debettencourt, Edgartown School chef extraordinaire, who has gathered Brazilian food recipes for Thursday’s lunch menu.

Einbinder said teachers will also include Brazilian cultural themes in classwork, including music, art, and social studies.

Dia das Crianças is considered one of Brazil’s marquee holidays, one of its biggest retail sales days, and is celebrated in conjunction with observation of the country’s historic religious figures.

Oddly, in the U.S., with hundreds of national days (as we learn in The Minute daily), and observations of Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and a nascent Grandparents Day, we do not have a formal day of recognition of our children.

While dozens of countries now observe Children’s Day, the first recorded observance of a children’s day occurred in Chelsea in 1857, by a pastor dedicated to raising kids in the Christian tradition.