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August kicks off with the Neo-Pagan/Wiccan holiday of Lughnasadh in the northern hemisphere (which corresponds to Samhain in the southern hemisphere.) Lughnasadh, with its Gaelic roots, falls on Aug. 1, the cross-quarter date between the summer solstice and the fall equinox. It also corresponds with the English/Christian holy day, Lammas.

The purpose is to celebrate the first harvest of the year. In the pagan traditions, the merry-making includes honoring the God Lugh, participating in athletic contests, feasting, visiting holy wells, and making berry offerings. In the Christian traditions, the focus is on the wheat harvest, home-made bread, and Holy Communion.

August also offers several important holy days in various Asian traditions (and one from the Islamic tradition).

Raksha Bandhan (Aug. 3): Raksha Bandhan honors sibling relationships. Girls tie an amulet-like bracelet, called a rakhi, onto their brothers’ wrists. In return, the brothers offer gifts and a renewed commitment to protect their female siblings. Nowadays, with increased gender equality and varying concepts of “family,” all sorts of sibling-like relationships are celebrated. You can even buy mass-produced Raksha Bandhan greeting cards!

Festival of the Tooth (July 25-August 4): This holiday, also called Esala Perhera, is celebrated by Sri Lankan Buddhists. It honors the Buddha’s Sacred Tooth, a relic that arrived in the country in the 4th century C.E. (about 800 years after the Buddha’s death). The 10-night festival includes nightly processions of elephants, drummers, dancers, acrobatic performers, flag-bearers, and of course, the tooth! It also falls on the dates associated with ancient supplications for rain.

Obon (Aug. 13-15): Obon is a three-day Buddhist holiday in Japan. Like Mexico’s Day of the Dead or the Pagan/Wiccan holiday of Samhain, Obon is a time to honor one’s ancestors. Graves are cleaned, and ancestors are invited to household altars so they can be sent to their final, permanent resting places. Lanterns, fire rituals, carnivals, and summery kimonos are also part of the ceremonies. While mid-August is the date for most Japanese, Obon is also celebrated in July or according to a lunar calendar (Sept. 2 this year) in some regions.

Muharram (Aug. 20): Muharram is the first day of the new year (1442) on the Islamic calendar, so it’s somewhat like Rosh Hashanah for Jews. The Islamic calendar is lunar, so Muharram begins whenever the new moon is sighted. The 10th day of the month marks Ashura, a holy day in which Muslims commemorate the murder of Muhammad’s grandson. He was an especially important figure in Shi’a Islam, so Muslims adhering to that set of traditions often mourn during the entire 10-day period, and some self-flagellate as a sign of mourning – a practice that is becoming increasingly controversial.

One of the most kid-friendly holidays in any tradition is the Indian/Hindu holiday of Raksha Bandhan, and the most common craft associated with it is a hand-made rakhi/bracelet! Here’s our version.
  • 12 embroidery threads (any color) measuring 30” each
  • Small piece of cardboard (posterboard, cereal box) cut into a circle measuring 1-2” in diameter
  • Markers, stickers, or other decorating items (glitter glue, beads, feathers)
  • Hot glue guns

Constructing the rakhi:
  1. Hold the 12 pieces of embroidery thread together and fold the bunch in half.
  2. Tie at one end with a short piece of thread. Cut the loop if you wish.
  3. Divide the 24-thread bunch into 3 groups of 8 and begin braiding. It can help to keep one end immobile by taping it to your workspace or using a heavy book.
  4. After braiding, tie off the other end with another short piece of thread.
  5. Decorate the cardboard circle, as desired, using whatever supplies you have.
  6. Use a hot glue gun to attach the decorated circle to the center of the braided bracelet.
  7. Tie it on someone’s wrist and let them know how special they are!
This post from Multicultural Kid Blogs offers a yarn version that is also easy to make with kids.

Kids' Video Recommendations

One of the quintessential features of Obon celebrations is the centuries-old, traditional dance known as Bon Odori. The dances are regional, with both the music and the dance steps varying from place to place. There are lots of home-grown videos on You Tube. Just use Bon Odori as your search term. Here’s one to get you started. As you will see, those who know what they’re doing wear special costumes and dance on a platform stage. Everyone else joins in as best they can!

More Reading

Last year, I wrote a post for Multicultural Kid Blogs called 10 Fun Facts for Kids about Celebrating Obon. It includes even more Obon facts and videos!
Also, I suggested this post last year. But, if you missed it the first time around, check out our archived Multifaith Mashup post on Lammas, Lughnasadh, and First Fruits Across Faith Traditions.

Latest News
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Also, positive Amazon reviews are especially helpful if you want to share your enthusiasm. 😊

As always, please remember to follow us @FaithSeekerKids on Twitter and Instagram for news articles, interfaith webinars, book recommendations, and craft images!

Curriculum Spotlight

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