As Christmas is round the corner, I wanted to share my experiences of being raised in a multi cultural city like Bangalore and how we enjoyed all festivals as kids. We majorly celebrated Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi, Pongal at home. I studied in a Christian institution so we celebrated Christmas in school. I had a lot of Muslim friends too, hence I literally celebrated all festivals and my whole year was so fun filled as a child. Now time does not permit us to celebrate all festivals, so I try to make it a point to enjoy some festivities with my daughter.
As a child, I would wait for Diwali, recheck my cracker box to make sure everything was still in place. Have a sleepless night to enjoy the morning oil bath, wear new clothes, gobble sweets, burst crackers and light lamps. For Christmas we would help our friends set up the crib and Christmas tree with cards. Enjoy the plum cakes and kulkuls in their house. Again Eid was an exiting day for us, maybe thats the only day mom would not cook for me, as we know biryani and kheer were on their way. This is the best thing about India, our cultures are so interwoven and beautiful. Maybe we dont have the time to enjoy all this as adults. But kids will definitely find it exciting to learn new cultures.
So here are some ways you can celebrate all festivals with your kids.
Story – Tell them about different religions and why they are having a holiday. Tell them about the fun things of every festival, get them excited.
Wishing Friends- Make sure they wish their friends who are celebrating the festival and send them gifts.
Visiting Friends- Visit families of friends who are celebrating the festival.
Recipes- Make sure you cook one or two dishes that are significant to every festival.
Distribute Sweets- If you are celebrating a festival make sure you distribute sweets to your neighbors and friends, involve your kids in packaging and distributing.
Attend Fairs- Attend Cake exhibitions and Christmas fairs in the city.
In a society that is growing apart we need to teach our kids how to live together and respect all religions and spread love.