Here’s something that the United States might be able to learn from China…Yesterday, June 1st, China celebrated International Children’s Day, a holiday designated for all our pint-sized friends.  Having never heard of the holiday I did a little research and found that it has its routes in the Eastern Bloc of communist countries that were part of the Soviet Union, and is celebrated today in many parts of the world.  In China, elementary school students were given the day off and more likely than not showered with gifts and trips to KFC by their family members.  Grocery stores had two for one promotions on candy soda, and (at the stores on the college campus) beer.

I had several reactions to this holiday.  Being a true ‘lost boy’ at heart, my first reaction was, of course….cool! I felt like it was one of those things that you discover in a foreign culture that makes you want to write your senator about and see if you can start some sort of revolution back state-side.

But the more I thought about it the more it occurred to me that it’s a rather peculiar holiday to be celebrated in China and not the US.  Chinese people tend to value the wisdom of the elderly over the energetic exuberance of youth, and filial piety to parents is a tradition ingrained in Chinese culture since the time of Confucius, if not before.  What’s even more baffling is the fact that while they’re becoming increasingly popular, both Father’s Day and Mother’s Day are still not official holidays.

Secondly (and I don’t mean to sound like a hardass here), what with the one-child policy and China’s new generation of adults being able to provide for their children in a way that they’re parents never could, it seems to me that Chinese kids, especially in the upper and middle class, are incredibly spoiled.  While it is true that Chinese kids are worked to the bone when it comes to their schoolwork and it’s a nice to see them get a day off, it’s also hard for me to justify giving all these ‘little emperors’ an entire day for their elders to dote upon them when they are already considered the light of everyone’s life.

After a little more research I discovered that International Children’s Day is not necessarily a cultural holiday as much as a political one, as most of the nations that celebrate it currently are or formally were run by communist regimes.  But for the life of me I can’t imagine why…any theories out there?

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