So many people seem to be looking for a better way to celebrate the shared world we live in and respect the cultures of people around us. And for as many subscription boxes and creators as there are on the internet and in stores these days, there’s really nothing like this subscription out there. This month we will explore the three cultural celebrations from around the world – Ghandi Jayanti, Indigenous People’s Day, and Día de Muertos. And because you all asked for it, there is also a small bonus included to give you a different perspective of emotions around the world for World Mental Health Day. But what’s actually included? Let’s check it out.
October 2 is one of few of India’s national holidays to honor the birth of their freedom fighting hero – Mahatma Ghandi. He is revered across the world today as a nonviolent protester and world changer. For this holiday, we are going to look at Ghandi, his nonviolent Hindu upbringing, and the role of yoga in Hinduism and nonviolence. Mahatma Ghandi was a nonviolent activist, political ethicist, lawyer, and freedom fighter against British rule in India. Ghandi Jayanti celebrates his birthday on October 2nd each year and is actually one of three national holidays in India! Ghandi’s life and teachings have been so influential throughout the world, that the United Nations has also named this day The International Day of Nonviolence. Why was he so inspired by nonviolence though? Most people in India, including Ghandi, practice a religion called Hinduism. This is actually the world’s third largest religion. The moral principles attained from this dharma, or way of life, are what drove Ghandi’s actions, although he was very open-minded and embraced the teachings many religions. A large part of Hindu culture is yoga, a deeply spiritual practice of discipline and finding harmony in body, mind, and spirit. Ghandi said, “Ahimsa is the highest duty. Even if we cannot practice it in full, we must try to understand its spirit and refrain as far as is humanly possible from violence.” In Sanskrit, the old scriptural language of Hinduism and yoga, “ahimsa” means nonviolence. In honoring Ghandi’s birthday many people pray, recite poems and songs and more. Another way we can honor him is through consistently emulating his example of striving for ahimsa.
This yoga game is a wonderful introduction for kids to the focus and discipline of yoga in a fun way! They will learn the sanskrit names of each pose and be given things to ponder and positive affirmations to say to themselves and others while they play.
Indigenous People’s Day
“Indigenous” is another word for “native”, or for something that originates from and is natural in a certain place. Plants can be indigenous to a certain area, like the Saguaro cactus in the Sonoran Desert, or Bamboo in Chinese forests. People can also be indigenous, families having lived in one place long before anyone else ever came to that area.
But when people from Europe started to explore and make a goal to map out and start understanding the entire world, they began to claim that they were discovering new lands that they now owned. The problem was, other people already lived on those lands, but the Europeans just told the indigenous people to either learn the European way, or move elsewhere. Often though, it wasn’t even that civil, and violence or disease broke out.
For almost 100 years, the USA recognized a holiday celebrating the mistaken discovery of America by Christopher Columbus wherein indigenous people were hurt and died left and right, wiping out some entire tribes and cultures. Finally, in 1989, South Dakota was the first state to replace that holiday with a celebration and memorial of indigenous peoples.Many people began to slowly follow South Dakota’s example. Finally, in 2019, the U.S. government made the official change to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day!
This month we will not only celebrate those people indigenous to the North American continent, but will look at symbolism in the culture of indigenous people around the world through their dance.
Día de Muertos
Día de los Muertos is namely a Mexican holiday spread across Latin America celebrating the union life and death. For many cultures, death can be very sad and even scary, but Mexican culture embraces a light humor and joy in celebrating the lives and memories of those who have died before us.
Remembering the dead and living a life full of loved one’s who’ll remember your influence are important cultural focuses of Dia de Muertos, but there is so much culture at every turn in this special holiday.
Originally it seems that it was celebrated in the summer, but as conquistadors came and Christianity spread, Dia de Muertos was connected with All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day. So it moved to be celebrated at the same time. Even more recently, Dia de Muertos celebrations begin as early as October 31st and go through November 2nd in many places.
Have you ever done family history? Do you know your grandparents favorite food or favorite color? What about your great-grandparens, or even great-great-grandparents?! Dia de Muertos is a wonderful opportunity for children to learn about their ancestors, find out what they have in common with family that came before them and really connect to their heritage. This month you are being provided with a starter kit to build your very own ofrenda!
Where can I purchase the multicultural holiday subscription?
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