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Happy Spring (Again)!!
Once again, we continue with various spring holy days. The most obvious ones are Passover and Easter, which usually coincide in some way. This year, Passover begins at sundown on Wed., April 8 and continues until sundown of Thursday, April 16. Easter falls at the half-way point on April 12.

Hanuman Jayanti (April 8): In the Hindu traditions, a Jayanti is an anniversary celebration of some sort, often a birthday. Although dates always vary across Asia, many Indians will celebrate the birth of Hanuman on April 8th. This revered god, who was half-man/half-ape, is known for his unrelenting devotion to Rama, the hero of the ancient epic tale called the Ramayana. Our local Hindu temple has a lovely Hanuman statue.

Vaisakhi (April 13/14): Vaisakhi is a spring festival celebrated in both the Hindu and Sikh traditions. The holiday is especially important to Sikhs as it marks the start of the Khalsa warrior tradition begun by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699 after the beheading of his father. Sikhs initiated into the Khalsa are given the title of Singh (men) or Kaur (women), they live according to a strict behavioral code (e.g., no tobacco, no alcohol), and they wear the Five K’s (uncut hair, wooden comb, iron bracelet, special undergarments, and an iron dagger).

Ridvan (starts sunset, April 19): Ridvan, which means “paradise,” is a 12-day Baha’i festival and one of their holiest times of the year. It commemorates Baháʼu'lláh’s declaration in 1863 that he was the Promised One and marks the days he spent in the Garden of Ridvan just outside the Baghdad city limits. The first, ninth, and twelfth days are particularly important. Many Baha’is stay home from work/school on those days.

Ramadan (starts ≈ evening of April 23): This month of fasting in the Islamic tradition has gotten much more well-known in the last decade. Observant Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, and many use apps. to keep track of each day’s fasting period. The daily fast ends with a communal meal called an iftar. Ramadan begins with the new moon of the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar, so it “moves up” about 2-1/2 weeks each year on the Gregorian calendar.

Every Sikh temple (gurdwara) flies the Sikh flag – an orange or yellow pennant with the Sikh symbol (khanda) in the center. It makes a great craft for kids!

Step 1: Cut Pennant
Mark the center point on the short edge of an orange or yellow sheet of paper. Then, draw a line from each upper corner to that center point. [See below]
Cut out the triangle. (Even younger kids can cut out the pennant if the lines are drawn for them.)

Step 2: Make Khanda
Print out a khanda – either one that is already black or one that is a coloring template. On Sikh flags, the khanda is usually navy blue or black, but we let the kids use any colors they want.
Cut around the khanda, and let the kids use glue sticks to attach it to the pennant.
If you want to teach them a bit about the khanda, you can point out that it consists of a center sword (in blue) surrounded by a circular weapon known as a chakram (in black). Surrounding the chakram are two single-edged swords, called kirpans (also in blue). The khanda serves as a symbol of solidarity for the Sikh people.
Step 3: Assemble Flag (optional)
If you want to make a flag, use liquid glue (fast-drying glue works especially well) and wrap the left side of the pennant around the dowel a couple of times. Use an alligator clip to hold it in place until it dries.

Kids' Books Recommendations

The Amma Tell Me series is a fantastic series about Hindu holy days and deities. This three-book set by Bhakti Mathur and Maulshree Somani (Anjana Publishing, 2016) tells the story of Hanuman – from his birth to his amazing feats to save Rama and Sita from the evil Ravana. 


More Reading

I first observed Ramadan in 2014. I fasted for the weekend, attending a Shi’a home iftar on Friday night and a Sunni community iftar at our local Islamic Center on Saturday night. This post is a write-up of those early experiences.
The dates for both Easter and Ramadan are based on the moon. Here’s a “Multifaith Mashup” post about how the moon shows up in the sacred texts of various religious traditions.

Additional Information

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we here at Faith Seeker Kids are trying to keep things as normal as possible. Right now, that means putting the finishing touches on our upcoming book We All Have Sacred Spaces. We're waiting for the cover design as we finalize the layout of the text!

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, Preschool - Kindergarten (Digital)
Interfaith Made Easy Unit #1 Peace, Preschool - Kindergarten (Digital)
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