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Happy Spring!!
The earliest spring holy days popped up in February. But, now that it’s March, there are even more! We can’t share them all, so we’ll focus on the first two weeks of March this time around.

Nineteen Day Fast (sundown, Feb. 29-sundown March 19): This fast, observed by Baha’is, leads up to their new year, which starts on the vernal equinox. The fasting rules look very similar to those observed by Muslims during Ramadan (no food or drink from sunrise to sunset). That’s probably not a coincidence since Baha’ism was founded in the mid-1800’s in Persia. Now Iran, the country is 99.5% Muslim.

Holi (March 9-10): Holi is an Indian/Hindu spring festival. It’s famous for the colored powders that are thrown on anyone and everyone who’s running about in the streets. Other popular customs include singing, dancing, and bonfires. Several legends are associated with Holi. The tale of Prahlada and Holika is one of the most widely-known.

Purim (sundown, March 9-sundown, March 10): Purim is one of the most festive of the Jewish holidays. It celebrates the story of Queen Esther saving the Jewish people from genocide at the hands of the evil, Haman. The entire scroll (megillah) of Esther is read, which is where the phrase “the whole megillah” comes from! Dressing up in costumes, making noise whenever Haman’s name is read, and eating triangular pastries (called hamantaschen) are usually part of the somewhat raucous festivities.

Hola Mohalla (March 10-12): This Sikh festival, instituted by Gobind Singh, the Sikh’s 10th (and final) human Guru, always occurs around the same time as Holi. The usual Sikh practices of kirtan and langar occur, but Hola Mohalla also includes fairs where poetry is shared and mock battles are staged. These fairs celebrate both the artist and warrior aspects of Sikhism’s history.
 

Hola Mohalla Horse
Traditional Hola Mohalla fairs also include bareback horse-riding and standing on two speeding horses (with one foot on the back of each horse) as they run. This craft – a simple, inexpensive version of a hobby-horse – is a kid favorite. We keep one in our Preschool-Kindergarten Sunday School classroom. They’ve been playing with it for years!

Supplies:
Two horse head templates (download here) and one long wooden dowel per child, tape, glue sticks, and crayons/markers/colored pencils.
Other decorating items (e.g., googly eyes, yarn for horse hair) are optional.
Wooden dowels can be expensive, so we use long, thin ones that measure ¼” x 48”.

Steps:
Cut around the two horse head templates on the thick black line.
Let the kids color/decorate them as they wish.
When finished, turn one horse head over and tape the top of the wooden dowel to it.
Cover the back of that horse head (working around the dowel) with glue.
Place the second horse head (facing right-side out) on top of the first one.
 

Additional Reading & Activities

There are lots of kids’ books available for Holi. Festival of Colors (Beach Lane Books, 2018), by mother/son duo Kabir and Surishtha Sehgal, is one of our favorites for preschoolers. It teaches color words while also teaching about making traditional Holi dyes using flowers.

 

More Reading

Since Purim is one of our favorite holidays, I’ve written about it several times over the years. Here are a couple of those articles.
Celebrating My First Purim
It’s Purim!
We also just published a new post, Purim Activities for Kids, for Multicultural Kid Blogs.

And don’t forget to join our public FB group at Faith Seeker Kids for daily interfaith articles and tips!

Curriculum Spotlight

Interfaith Made Easy Unit #1 Peace, Upper Elementary (Hard Copy)
Interfaith Made Easy Unit #1 Peace, Upper Elementary (Hard Copy)
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Interfaith Made Easy Unit #1 Peace, Upper Elementary (Digital)
Interfaith Made Easy Unit #1 Peace, Upper Elementary (Digital)
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