” Do we get a gift for Janmashtami ? “
In an age of goody bags and candy treats, it’s hard to explain to children a festival that doesn’t traditionally involve presents.
This year we start a couple of days early. Story telling, you tube video watching. I tell him the story of the birth of Krishna. How despite his evil uncle Kansa wanting him dead, he is born and left in the protection of foster parents. I also tell him about his relationship with his foster mother Yashoda, which is the core of the celebration. Krishna was very naughty and his leadership qualities and love of butter got him into many a trouble. And in spite of loving him immensely and protecting him against everyone his mother would punish him as need be. Magicbox and Big Animation has some kid friendly videos explaining both.
I have written a poem about the same last year rejoicing his childhood HERE.
As I told him more and more stories, the excitement built! My daughter, well bless her two year old soul, she just loves getting dressed up in princess clothes as she calls them and loves dancing to any music. Hehe.
Day of :
We wake up in the morning and wish each other. The whole morning goes in pumping my t shirt shorts loving son into wearing the traditional ” Hindi clothes “. I explain to him that it’s nice to be in Indian clothes as that’s what everyone used to wear in olden times as warriors. As we roam around on our play date and chores, he asks for a gift in the form of a DVD, which we get since I know he needs a new one for the car anyway. His sister gets a rag doll that he finds cute, since ” she needs a gift too ” . Me eye rolling but secretly loving that he wants to get her something even though she’s not there.
Evening comes and we bathe and dress up in traditional Indian clothes. Specially him as Krishna in the traditional outfit as in the mythological story. I even tell him in homes where they aren’t boys, girls are dressed up as Kanha as this is a festival celebrating children. So we take pictures of both of them in the fancy crown.
We decorate the temple with the idol with new sparkly clothes and ornaments. I’ve cooked traditional food like potato curry, wheat puffed puris and kheer that’s used as bhog (offering) during the prayer. We each pray, apply kum kum and do aarti as the sounds of hymns and the fragrance of incense fill the house. The kids enjoy applying the red color to mom and dad and love posing in the different ways we show them.
Now what? I put on some songs that are perfect for the occasion, from movies and we dance to it. We play freeze dance and then watch more stories of Krishna and songs to entertain us. Then we relish a lavish meal.
In the night I explain to him that in this festival we celebrate childhood like we did his. The lesson to be learned from all the these mythological (which I explain too) stories that no matter what, your parents will always love you. Whether you are cute, naughty, helpful, your parents always strand by you and protect you. And if you do wrong, your parents will surely punish you with timeouts or appropriate consequences as even the God Krishna is. That doesn’t mean the mother or father don’t love you. It’s because we love you that you are to be shown the right way in life.
Here he says, ” Jesus was loved a lot by his father too. He came back on Easter. ” I say yes, all children as dear to their fathers and mothers. And so concludes our day of celebrating Janmashtami, a little non traditionally.
Stay tuned for Ganesh Chaturthi festival next week.
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