December 17th, 2017
Lin wrote to me from Indonesia about Kastengels, an Indonesian cookie that’s eaten for the holidays of Lebaran (Eid al-Fitr) and Natal (Christmas). This is what she wrote…. “Kastengels is a kind of cookie that has a rich cheese flavor and aroma. The flavor comes from Edam cheese that is also its main ingredient. It is then topped […]
July 25th, 2016
Sadao Mazuka wrote to us about the historical relationship between Japan and Holland… Relationship between Japan & Holland First of all, please keep in mind the historical background of the 15th to 17th centuries. These centuries were called "The Age of Great Navigation" of European ships. There was religious conflict among Catholic countries, Spain & […]
July 19th, 2016
Bruce Ham wrote to us recently looking for help with the lyrics to a Dutch children’s song that his grandmother used to sing to the kids in the family. He sent us a recording of his grandmother singing the song. In the recording you can also hear his grandma talk about how she used to […]
March 23rd, 2016
Gert Beumer wrote to us about National Pancake Day in the Netherlands… Last week on Friday, March 18th, it was National Pancake Day. Several school classes baked pancakes for the older generation in elder home care facilities. That made me remember this song about making pancakes called Elsje fiederelsje. A Dutch pancake is made of […]
December 3rd, 2015
St. Nicholas Day is celebrated in parts of Europe on December 5th – 6th. Many children receive gifts and treats in the shoes they left out the night before. To learn more about St. Nicholas Day, check out these articles we’ve posted… Below you can learn some St. Nicholas Songs and Rhymes… St. Nicholas […]
November 20th, 2015
There’s an interesting book that features food wisdom and proverbs from around the world called "Food Rules" by Michael Pollan. The book is about learning to think about eating in a more healthy way. The sayings are interesting. I’ve tried to find some of the non-English sayings in their original languages – sometimes I found […]
June 3rd, 2015
Knock-knock jokes can be found all over the world. They have a simple formula. In English, they start with, "Knock, knock!" As if someone’s knocking on the door. The answer is almost always, "Who’s there?" Then the joke proceeds with a play on words. Here’s a good example: Knock, knock. Who’s there? Orange. Orange who? […]
September 9th, 2014
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 […]
December 6th, 2013
Happy St. Nicolas’ Day! Here’s a link to info about the legend of St. Nick. Here’s a link to a Dutch St. Nick song with a recording:
April 23rd, 2012
Jenny Van Ryswyk wrote to me asking for help with a Dutch poem from the Netherlands about a mouse and beans. Here’s her letter: Thank you for the site. It brings many of the children’s poems to life with a clearer understanding. My parents are from Friesland and my husband’s parents from Groningen and Rotterdam […]
February 17th, 2012
Open Culture has a page of free language learning links covering 40 languages. Here are some of the languages you can find links for… Arabic, English, Chinese, French, Spanish, Bulgarian, Catalan, Danish, Dutch, Esperanto, Finnish, Gaelic, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Lithuanian, Luxembourgish, Maori, Norwegian, Portuguese, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Swahili, […]
January 5th, 2012
Here’s the Dutch poem Winterstilte (Winter Silence) by Guido Gezelle who lived from 1830 to 1899. You can listen to the poem in the mp3 recording below and follow along with the Dutch text and then read a loose English translation… MP3 Recording of Winterstilte Winterstilte (Dutch) Een witte spree ligt overal gespreid op ‘s […]
December 6th, 2011
Today is St Nicholas Day! Many children in Europe receive gifts and treats in the shoes they left out last night for St. Nick. Read all about the traditions of St. Nick here.
May 17th, 2010
Rida, Rida Ranka is a rhyme and song known to many in Scandinavia and to the families of Scandinavian immigrants in the US. Lance N. Peterson wrote to me of its significance to his family. (I added links below to the versions of Rida, rida ranka he talks about.) Dear Lisa: Words are what we […]
May 14th, 2009
Mrs. Brein from Argentina is looking for two Dutch songs that her father sang to her when she was a child. Here is what they sounded like -the spelling is phonetical 1. Traláreche: Traláreche, traláreche, oh my muther so fader chessen, eisi bebirj, eisi bebirj, oh my muther so fader cheseen. (It was sung while […]
February 26th, 2009
Peter pointed out an online collection of traditional Dutch songs published in 1895. The site is only in Dutch. Some of the songs may have archaic language. But it may be interesting for those of you who speak the language. Thanks for letting us know about this site Peter! -Mama Lisa
February 22nd, 2009
We’d love it if you’d join the Mama Lisa Facebook Group. You can post anything you’d like about your culture. You can post your own musical recordings or YouTube videos… Links to culture and musical sites… Photos of your country… Questions about songs or cultural issues… Anything related to World Culture and Music… Click on […]
June 7th, 2008
Chris sent me this email: Greetings! Google led me to your website when I was looking for help. I hope this request doesn’t end up being too difficult! I’m not a fluent Dutch speaker (in fact, I know very little Dutch at all beyond the basics). But my grandmother is the daughter of a Dutch […]
April 29th, 2008
Elyse wrote: Does anyone know anything about an old Dutch children’s song about girls and boys picking flowers, drinking tea and sweet milk with honey, giving chickens water, and the clock striking ten? My grandmother sang it to me years ago. The title sounds like “Saitcha Fara” though no such Dutch words with those spellings […]
December 29th, 2007
In many parts of the world, the foods eaten on New Years Eve and New Years Day have important symbolic meanings. These symbols seem to fall into several major categories. The first class symbolizes financial prosperity. This type of food is round like coins. Often, the dish will be round beans, like lentils, that will […]
October 31st, 2007
Gail wrote me: Greetings Lisa, I am wondering if you have ever heard of a Dutch children’s song that starts out: “In the Vintertime when the vind blows…” some of the other words were vindowpane and vestibule. It goes something like: In the wintertime when the wind blows (and something) then frost forms on the […]
July 15th, 2007
Lorraine simply wrote, regarding “Het Maria Klokje”: Do you know this song? Thanks Lorraine from Ontario Canada If anyone knows the lyrics to this song, please comment below or email me. If you can possibly provide an English translation, that would be great too. Thanks! Lisa
June 26th, 2007
Sarah wrote: My father-in-law came back from Spain singing this song called “Chichiwa”, and my 5 year old son loves it, but none of us know the words. Can anyone help? I’ve been trying to find it on the internet and there are references to it on a couple of Dutch websites, but no lyrics. […]
March 19th, 2007
Nancy wrote: Dear Lisa, Do you know this Dutch song? My mother used to sing it to our children in the 1960’s: Klap eens in je handjes, blij blij blij… Appreciate if you can let me know the rest of it and any background history you may have. Thanks, Nancy Reimers If anyone can help […]
March 18th, 2007
We have a special circumstance where we’re looking for a Bahasa Indonesian translation of a song called Cat’s Head. The song is originally Dutch. We were able to get an English translation of it. If anyone can translate it into Bahasa Indonesian from either language, we would greatly appreciate it. Both versions are below: Cat’s […]
December 22nd, 2006
While I have this link at hand, I’d like to recommend www.freedict.com. It’s a site devoted to free online language dictionaries. You can translate between English and the following languages: Afrikaans Danish Dutch Finnish French Hungarian Indonesian Italian Japanese Latin Norwegian Portuguese Russian Spanish Swahili Swedish I find that it can usually succeed at translating […]
November 30th, 2006
A significant part of the Mama Lisa sites is a large collection of songs and nursery rhymes from around the world. We currently have about 750 songs from around 90 countries and cultures. When you consider how many languages there are in those cultures – that’s a lot of information! In order to make it […]
December 4th, 2005
Kirsten Kerkhof wrote me the following about St. Nicolas Day in Holland… “In the Netherlands, Christmas is not as important for children as Sint Nicolaas (Saint Nicholas) on December 5th. It’s on this day that children get their presents, instead of on Christmas Day. Sint Nicolaas is the patron saint of children. He is said […]
Please contribute a traditional song or rhyme from your country.
A Mama Lisa Book
At Mama Lisa's World we love international culture - and we REALLY love cookies! So what could be better than combining the two?
In Cookies Around The World we present a selection of delicious cookie recipes from a diverse collection of countries.
Each includes photographs of the stages of preparation and most include commentary about the role the cookies play in their cultures.
-Pebernodders from Germany
-Kourabiedes from Greece
-Kastengels from Indonesia
-Fave dei morti from Italy
-Polvorones de almendra from Mexico
And many more!
We believe it's important to encourage kids to learn about other cultures. These cookie recipes are a great tool for parents and teachers to do so!
Have fun baking and even more fun eating!
THIS IS A DOWNLOADABLE EBOOK AVAILABLE INSTANTLY.