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Maybe you’ve been getting ready for the first day of school by picking out your favorite outfit or heading to the store with a grown-up to buy some new Ticonderoga pencils or a brand-new Spider-Man backpack.
Around the world, students have different traditions for the start of the school year. Here are a few.
Ukraine: Celebrating “Knowledge Day”
Sept. 1 is Knowledge Day in Ukraine and many nations that formerly belonged to the Soviet Union. Large ceremonies are often held at school, and one first-grader gets to ring a bell to signify the start of their education.
Ukrainian students also traditionally bring their new teachers flowers. With a flower from each student, teachers are left with big, beautiful bouquets.
Japan: A new “randoseru” backpack
Japanese students’ first day of school is typically April 1. According to Cheng & Tsui, a Japanese textbook publisher, this timing helps students associate the start of school with the promise of spring.
Students who are starting school for the first time are often given a randoseru, a hard-sided backpack. Traditionally, boys use black and girls use red randoseru, and these sturdy packs last all the way through elementary school.
Germany: A “schultüte” full of presents
When German first-graders head off to school for the first time, their families often give them a schultüte, or a “school cone.”
These cones are usually filled with candy, toys and small school supplies, German folklorist Christiane Cantauw told DW. Cantauw said the tradition is meant to celebrate a child’s rite of passage as they start school.
A student’s schultüte can be sometimes be even bigger than they are, with the paper cone packed with favorite treats that help sweeten their transition to school.