Vaisakhi {for Sikh Children}


Image: Copyright Saffron Press

As a very proud Masi, I often find myself wondering how we can make events such as Vaisakhi, more meaningful for the next generation. Why is it that we exchange cards and gifts during Christmas, and yet for Vaisakhi, a Facebook status update suffices? While I fully support children exploring and participating in global celebrations, I think it is just as important (perhaps more so) that Sikh children are raised celebrating Vaisakhi in a similarly joyful way. For Sikhs living in the diaspora, Vaisakhi is often associated with nagar kirtans, melas, and gurdwara visits. This is a great way for children to celebrate the occasion with the community, however, I am not sure the event really resonates with them.

For example, did you know about the significance of kite flying during Vaisakhi?

The spring air of Vaisakh makes kite flying a popular pass time. A kite is called a Patang or Guddi Manjha in Panjab. The wood and bamboo roll on which the string is wound iscalled a Charkhadi. Children often give their kites a special name to reflect their personal designs such as: Pari (fairy), Chand Mama (man-in-the-moon/uncle moon), ShakkarPara (a panjabi sweet). Poetry may also be written in Panjabi on the Patang to send messages to a special person up on the roof. [link]

How fun would it be to have kite flying events for Sikh children? They could invite their non-Sikh friends and use it as a way to share their heritage. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s important not to commercialize historical occasions – however, we have to be willing to celebrate our history so that it is meaningful. So I’m curious – what does Vaisakhi mean to you and how do you celebrate it? How would you like your children, your nieces or nephews to remember Vaisakhi? Or if you are a parent, how do you make Vaisakhi meaningful for your children?

Here is a useful document for parents and educators, describing ways to celebrate Vaisakhi with children. Happy Vaisakhi!

bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark

6 Responses to “Vaisakhi {for Sikh Children}”

  1. Neet says:

    As a mother, I should make more of an effort to make Vasakhi fun for my daughter. I guess we just take it for granted growing up. She’s only 5 and maybe too young to understand the history but I want this to be a day she anticipates each year.

  2. Navdeep Singh Dhillon says:

    I think the kite flying idea is a great way to celebrate Vaisakhi and agree that in addition to going to the Gurdwara, there should be an element of fun associated with it. I wonder how the cutting of kites would go over though =)

  3. moorakh88 says:

    Kite flying is indeed a great way to celebrate. Kudos to you, Masi ji, for making the events more fun and interesting. However, as a future parent, the celebration depends on my income. If I’m wealthy (God willing), then I want to teach my kids humility and want them to do sewa and think of others. Kite flying would be a great addition to the festivities and may be used to reward them for their community service. But if I’m poor (God forbid!), then we’re coming to your house, Masi ji =)

  4. Kite or not to kite is the question. But the post makes a valid point to make Vaisakhi interesting and memorable for kids too, to anticipate each year as noted in the first comment.

  5. She's only 5 and maybe too young to understand the history but I want this to be a day she anticipates each year.

  6. Through many people's eyes, a very weird and scary thing had just happened. Through the eyes of the angels, a very beautiful thing had just happened and a powerful opportunity was given to many souls.