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

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Articles about 'Countries & Cultures'
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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) ...
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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 reminds...
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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 this...
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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. In 1983,...
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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!
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Saffron has a wonderful aroma.  Adding it to your rice can make it taste extra special! The simplest way for westerners to make basic saffron rice is to soak 1/2 t. of saffron in 3T. of boiling water for 10 minutes.  Then add the mixture to your regular rice recipe when adding the water.   Ayako...
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There are lots of beautiful old photos of Japan online.  Check them out at the link!
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We have over 150 German Songs on Mama Lisa’s World with translations.  We were recently asked which ones are popular for children. Here’s a list of the best-known German kids songs that was shared by a German friend.  Each song is linked to its lyrics page with a translation… Alle meine Entchen Alle...
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Monique and I have been adding a lot of Drop the Handkerchief Games to Mama Lisa’s World.  This got Monique thinking about the actual meaning of handkerchief in different languages.  Here are some of her thoughts… "I was thinking about the word for handkerchief in some languages and it’s funny what they literally mean. In English,...
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The word "lagniappe" is really fantastic.  It’s a small gift given from a merchant to a customer who’s buying something. "Lagniappe" comes from the Quechua word "yapa". We have some restaurants near us that give dessert as a lagniappe.  It produces a kind of "oooh" effect when you receive it, precisely because you weren’t expecting it...
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"Pumpkin, Pumpkin" is a cute little song that’s sung to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star".  It’s perfect for October and Halloween. You can watch the video below and read along with the lyrics. Pumpkin, Pumpkin 1. Pumpkin, pumpkin on the ground 2. How’d you get so big and round? ...
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Can you believe that the American song "Yankee Doodle" is the music that played at the start of the revolution that lead to an Imperial Japan? ‘Yankee Doodle" is a song from prerevolutionary America. The British used it to mock the American Colonists. Then the Americans turned around and proudly claimed the song as their...
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Did you ever wonder whether specific proverbs and idiomatic expressions are still used in the English language?  Here I discuss some phrases that begin with the letter "A" and how well-known they are.  These proverbs are specifically about animals.  They can be found on the site The Phrase Finder.  The discussion here is specially from...
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 any idea...
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Wynken, Blynken and Nod is a beloved bedtime poem about sailing in the sky in a wooden shoe and fishing for the stars.  The names "Wynken", "Blynken" and "Nod" represent a child’s sleepy eyes and head.  The wooden shoe symbolizes his bed.  He dreams of the stars while his mother sings him to sleep.  This...
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Design Resource has a great site about children’s games in India.  The site includes instructions for indoor and outdoor games.  The indoor games include hand-clapping rhymes and games played with stones and shells.  The outdoor games include circle games and other types of games played outside. Check it out! Mama Lisa
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Duck, Duck, Goose is a game every English-speaking kindergartener knows.  In other cultures, there’s a similar game called Drop the Handkerchief.  Here’s the difference… Duck, Duck, Goose To play Duck, Duck, Goose the kids sit in a circle except for the one who’s "It".  The person who is "It" goes around tapping each child’s head saying "Duck". ...
Bob Anderson wrote looking for help with a Swedish childhood rhyme.  Here’s his question: Do you know of a children’s verse my dad (born 1879) used to do with the grandkids?  He would bounce them on his knees, holding their hands, and at the climax, open his knees and drop them down as if to drop...
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Can you imagine seeing a Giant Rubber Duck floating in a river by you?  A Giant Rubber Duck has been sited in some major cities around the world! The Rubber Duck sculpture was created by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman.   It’s been part of a tour called "Spreading Joy around the World". The hope is to help...

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