Mama Lisa's World
International Music & Culture
Mama Lisa's Blog
A place for poems, songs, rhymes and traditions from around the world for both kids and grown-ups to enjoy!

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Sugarplums are associated with Christmas even though most people don’t really know what they are!  They’re actually like Jordan Almonds – but not necessarily with almonds inside. The term isn’t heard much anymore outside of Christmas poems like, "T’was the Night Before Christmas" with the lines: The children were nestled all snug in their beds, […]
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In the US, we all see the bright holiday lights in December in our neighborhoods. NASA has found such an increase in luminosity that it can be seen from space!  A 20 – 50% increase in light during the Christmas season in the US. Here’s an image that shows a similar effect, which can be […]
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Check out Celebrating Christmas Musical Traditions Around the World to learn about different holiday traditions.  You can take a virtual holiday trip to Mexico, South Korea, Norway, Australia and Nigeria.  Enjoy! Mama Lisa
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Season’s greetings! At Mama Lisa’s World there’s no time of year we love better than the holidays! We’re happy to announce that we’ve recently added the following Christmas Carols to Mama Lisa’s World with mp3 recordings and YouTube videos: Italian Dormi, dormi, bel Bambin (Sleep, Sleep Beautiful Child) Tu scendi dalle stelle (You Come Down […]
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Rest in Peace Norman Bridwell, creator of the kids books featuring Clifford the Big Red Dog. I’ll always remember reading stacks of Clifford books with my son Calvin when he was young.  They helped him learn how to read! Bridwell has left an enduring legacy with his books that children and parents will read for […]
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Ray Lee, who grew up in Hong Kong, wrote, "We played all these when we were kids… The bottom right is Chinese Chess. Adults play that too. The other three are for kids. They don’t really have English names. Top left is 鬥獸棋 (Jungle). It’s like chess in that there are two opposing players/sides and […]
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Nettles are a spiky leafy plant found in much of the world.  The leaves can be eaten, but you need to use gloves when picking and cooking nettles since they’re prickly. Once they’re cooked they become soft. (Note: You don’t want to eat them once they’ve started flowering.) Nettles can be found in various recipes […]
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Shirley Pitcher wrote to me from Australia about a family tradition, handed down from her great-grandmother who came from North Ireland, to eat Nettle Cake or Eccles Cake on New Year’s Eve. Here’s Shirley’s letter followed by a recipe I found for Eccles Cake: The Great-Grandma I remember – Her name was Rosa – she […]
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Ayako wrote to me about two popular Christmas songs from the Philippines that she learnt recently. Here’s her letter: Hi, Lisa I learned these Christmas songs from my English teacher.  She is from the Philippines. She told me that about 80% of Filipinos are Catholic and go to church about for 2 weeks ahead of […]
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The feast of St. Nicholas is celebrated by some people in the US, usually those with German ancestors.  The holiday takes place on the night of December 5th to the morning of the 6th. Shoes or stockings are left out for St. Nick to fill with gifts.   Here’s what Donna Berich wrote about it from […]
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Sadao Mazuka wrote to us from Japan about Japanese idiomatic expressions about cats.  Here’s his email: Hi Lisa, I was very much interested in your blog post, “Animal Names used as Terms of Endearment” that was written by Monique. I don’t think we have any phrases about a child or spouse with a connection like […]
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It’s almost the time of year when many of us will be preparing gingerbread houses with our families! We don’t often think of it but, of course, gingerbread houses are associated with the story of Hansel and Gretel. They’re lured into the home of the witch in the forest since it’s made of gingerbread and […]
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Here’s a beautiful chart that illustrates the relationships between many Western languages.  It was created by Minna Sundberg.   You can see a larger version here and you can buy it here.
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Beatrix Potter is the beloved English children’s author and illustrator best known for her book, "The Tale of Peter Rabbit".  She also wrote the poem, "We Have a Little Garden".  It comes from her book, "Cecily Parsley’s Nursery Rhymes".  You can read the rhyme below and listen along with the cute recording by Super Coconut.  […]
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It’s easy to make Day of the Dead cookies!  Simply buy a skull cookie cutter like this one.  Make your favorite recipe for sugar cookies and cut out skull shapes.  After they’ve been cooked and have cooled, put white icing on them.  Finally, using a tube of black icing and make fancy features to create […]
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Monique wrote from France about terms of endearment used in French, Spanish and English that use Animal names… In French, we use many animals names as endearment words.  We use: Mon poussin (my chick) Mon poulet (my chicken) Ma poule/poulette (my hen/little hen – mostly for girls) Ma cocotte (my hen – cocotte is baby […]
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Monique wrote from France about a cool "emoticon" she uses when corresponding with her friends. Here’s her email: In French, "à demain" (see you tomorrow) sounds like "à 2 mains" (with two hands).  That’s why when someone tells you "à demain" you may answer "à deux pieds" (with two feet) as a joke.  This all […]
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Mama Lisa’s World now has a search box!  You can search for songs, rhymes, poems, recipes and traditions.  You can search for specific languages, countries and cultures. You can search for a particular word… like "apple" or "train".  You can even put two or three words in… like "French Apple Song". We hope you find […]
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Sadao Makuza wrote to us about Halloween in Japan… Halloween here is mainly a sales strategy in department stores and supermarkets. Children only go trick-or-treating if it’s arranged in school or with family and friends. Halloween first appeared in Japan in the 1970’s by the Kiddy Land Company store in Tokyo to promote Halloween goods. […]
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The creepy Hearse Song (The Worms Crawl In) is very popular at Halloween time. There are many versions. Here’s one with a recording. You can find more Halloween Songs on Mama Lisa’s World. Enjoy! Mama Lisa Image: Thanks to Gracie Gralike for the great drawing!

Readers are asking...

Most recently:

Can Anyone Help with a (Welsh?) Song "Terlinden, Teroden"?

Joann wrote asking for help with a song she’s researching for a 90 year old friend.  Here’s her letter: Do you know of a song sung years ago in the USA, but possibly of Welsh in origin with the phrase, "Terunden, teroden"? The lady is in her mid-nineties, she gave more words but didn’t have […] Read more »

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