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We love to learn about the traditions that happen during back to school around the world!

(Don’t you?)

There’s just something so interesting about learning how different cultures handle the same situation we are going through and then comparing and contrasting the back to school around the world to our own back to (home)school.

How to Make a German School Cone (Schultute)

Since we made our first day of school special with our back to school schultute (thank you to our German friends) and studied a little about the traditions of German school children, I’ve been wondering about other cool school traditions that we’ve been missing.

(One friend on Instagram commented that she felt like she missed out since she just found out about the schultute! TOTALLY AGREE! Be sure to check it out!)

So, what are some other first day of school celebration ideas and other back to school around the world traditions?

(HINT: Flowers seem to be a common theme in other countries…)

Back to School Around the World: Traditions and Celebrations

Back to School Around the World | First Day of School Rituals and Celebrations in Different Cultures

Back to School Around the World Germany School Kids
Photo Credit: Andreas Bohnenstengel/Wikimedia Commons

Back to School Around the World in Germany

If you don’t know about the schultute that I mentioned above, you have to drop everything right now and go read about it!

(Yes, it really is that cool!)

On their first day back to school, German children receive a back-to-school cone (schultüte, pronounced shool-too-tuh) filled with candy, school supplies, and anything else that parents (or grandparents) want to put in there.

We started this tradition a few years ago and have had so much fun with it. (One year, we even made miniature versions for our friends.)

Back to School Around the World in Israel

For new children first attending school in Israel, they pass through an arch made by older students.

Then, because learning is considered to be “sweet” for the kids first starting school, they lick honey off of letters. (It’s actually a lot cooler than it sounds.)

Balloons are then released by the older students.

Back to School Around the World in Turkey

There is no special celebration for the first day of school in Turkey. Instead, children wear brand new uniforms and traditionally bring their teachers flowers.

Back to School Around the World India School Kids
Photo Credit: Marina from Moscow, Russia/Wikimedia Commons

Back to School Around the World In India

The first day of school in India is known as Admission Day, or Praveshanotshavan.

Children in India get gifts on their first day, with the most common gift being an umbrella because their school year coincides with monsoon season.

Back to School Around the World Russia School Kids
Photo Credit: Элина Корецкая/Wikimedia Commons

Back to School Around the World in Russia

The first day of school in Russia is a very formal day and is known as Knowledge Skills Day. Kids must dress up and the day is filled with special ceremonies.

On this day, Russian children bring flowers to their teachers and receive a balloon in return.

The children also attend a ceremony that ends with a special bell ringing to mark the start of the year.

Back to School Around the World Japanese School Kids
Photo Credit: ajari from Japan/Wikimedia Commons

Back to School Around the World in Japan

On the first day of school, Japanese children receive a backpack that is called a randoseru that will be kept and used for their all of their primary school years. Many children keep their randoseru their entire lives as a special token of their school years.

Unlike the cloth or nylon backpacks that American children carry, the randoseru is a hard-sided backpack. It is often filled with origami paper, books, a pencil case, weeding tools, and also slippers since outdoor shoes cannot be worn inside.

Traditionally, the boys have a black randoseru and the girls have red.

Japanese children often bring a good luck lunch the first day of rice with seaweed sauce and quail eggs.

Back to School Around the World Italy School Kids

Back to School Around the World in Italy

At school, Italian children wear a grembiule, or “work smock”, over their regular clothes. It is tradition to shop for a new grembiule before school starts.

In first grade, the boys wear a blue and white smock and the girls wear a pink and white smock.

After first grade, the smocks are blue for everyone.

Back to School Around the World in Saudi Arabia

School kids in Saudi Arabia enjoy a celebration with food and special activities for the first three days of school. These days are used for children to mingle and get to know each other and make new friends.

During this time, teachers also bring flowers to school and give them to the students.

Back to School Around the World Bulgaria School Kids
Photo Credit: Svilen1970/Wikimedia Commons

Back to School Around the World in Bulgaria

The first day of school for kids in Bulgaria is a celebration.

There is a long program that includes games, poetry and reciting, dancing, and singing.

There are also fun activities with the goal of getting students acquainted and accustomed to working together.

The children also bring the teachers flowers.

Back to School Around the World Video

Books on Children and Traditions from Other Countries

Children Just Like Me (AFFILIATE)If you’re looking for more information on traditions and kids around the world, Children Just Like Me: A new celebration of children around the world is one of our favorite books that will forever stay in our homeschooling library!

Two other favorites of ours include: Kids Around the World Cook!: The Best Foods and Recipes from Many Lands and Kids Around the World Celebrate!: The Best Feasts and Festivals from Many Lands.

Kids Around the World Cook! (AFFILIATE) Kids Around the World Celebrate! (AFFILIATE)

Here are some other children’s books about kids around the world that you might enjoy for your home library:

Children Around the World (AFFILIATE) This is How We Do It (AFFILIATE) Kids World Party (AFFILIATE) Christmas Around the World (AFFILIATE)

Are you aware of a first day of school tradition from another country? Share it in the comments!






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Jacqueline Wilson is a writer, mom, wife, homeschool super freak and #1 Bestselling Author of It's Homeschooling, Not Solitary Confinement. She has been featured at Huffington Post, Parenting Magazine, Redbook, Kiwi Magazine, Fox News, and more. She is a discriminating sock monkey enthusiast and has a small collection of rescued pets. One more and she gets a free set of steak knives.

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