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Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
Posted on May 21, 2018 by CHS

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is celebrated throughout the month of May. It is a time to commemorate the achievements, contributions, heritage, and traditions of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. According to the Library of Congress, May was chosen to “commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United states [in 1843] and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad [in 1869].”  Many different cultures and nationalities are identified under the broad term of Asian and Pacific Islander. Each country, from China to Vietnam to Philippines, has a different language, culture, lifestyle, and traditions. Take some time to pay tribute to the generations of Asians and Pacific Islanders who have enriched United States history and greatly influenced American culture.

Asian American Profiles 
Research and create Asian American profiles that may be used to create a classroom scrapbook. Choose influential Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders from American history and create a short biography. Some of the many influential people include Bruce Lee, Michelle Kwan, Dr. Feng Shan Ho, and Larry Itliong. You can also create a biography on the Chinese laborers that worked to create America’s Transcontinental Railroad in 1863. You can find lists of influential Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders at Famous Asian American and Their Impact on American Culture and Asian American Who Have Made a Difference. You can learn more about Chinese immigrants and their work with the Transcontinental Railroad here.

Japanese Origami
Origami is the Japanese paper-folding art form that you can do with your children. Not only is it a fun arts and crafts project, it is a great way to improve a child’s fine motor and coordination skills. Before starting this project, explain what origami is and the history behind it. Click here to learn more about history of origami. The art of origami began in the sixth century as a ceremonial and religious practice. As time passed and paper became more available to the public, origami became a recreational pastime for the public.  Provide square sheets of colored paper and origami folding instructions to your children and show them how to fold a crane or a swan. You can find more origami projects by clicking here.

Story Time
Asian and Pacific Islanders have a variety of folklores, legends, and fairy tales grounded in the rich oral tradition of storytelling. Stop by a local library or check out the websites World of Tales and Myths and Legends and choose a story to read to your children. Ask a variety of open-ended questions about the story so that the children will have better understanding of the story through their discussion. After the story, you can have the children create a skit to re-enact the plot.

Traditional Food
Food is beloved all over the world and each country offers their own unique recipes. During the Lunar New Year, a simple dish that is served is Modeumjeon (fish, shrimp, and zucchini pan-fried in egg batter). In Korean, the suffix Jeon means that the food is battered and pan-fried, while Modeum means assorted or combination. The ingredients for this dish are 1 zucchini, 10 peeled and deveined shrimp, ½ pound cod fillet, 3 eggs, ½ cup flour, vegetable oil, salt, and pepper. Rinse and dice the zucchini, shrimp, and cod fillet into bite-sized pieces, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cover them completely with flour. Heat up a large skillet with vegetable oil and beat eggs in a separate bowl. Once the skillet is heated, dip the diced ingredients in a bowl of beaten egg and place them on the skillet, one at a time. Cook each side for 1 to 2 minutes or until slightly golden. Serve with a dipping sauce made of soy sauce, rice vinegar, and a pinch of pepper. Ketchup can also be used as a dipping sauce. Click here for the original recipe. You can also find more Asian food recipes at Saveur.

Image Credits: by The Library of Congress via Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

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