Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner!  Last year I completely forgot to send something, so this year I decided to do this a few weeks early, in January, so it was ready to go.  I even dropped it to school and put it in her cubby so it wouldn’t get forgotten.  Whether you decided to do cute store bought valentines or make your own, it’s always fun to get the kids involved in assembling the valentines they share with their classmates.

This year, Anya’s valentine was little paint sets for her classmates.

I got the idea for the printable, the free printable, and instructions here.

Valentine's Day Printable

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valentine's Day, Printable Valentine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year, Anik and Aryana’s were lollipops.

Kavita designed this printable herself, to customize it to the children’s names.  You can have this Printable for free without the name on it.  Click here for it.

 

Valentine's Day, Valentines Printable

 

 

Send Diwali Cards

If you plan to send a family holiday card, it is time to pick the card, picture and get your stuff together! Our top recommendation for modern Indian themed cards are:

1. Minted.com

2. Soulfulmoon.com

My personal favorite!

MIN-09E-DWL-001_A_PD

 

Rangoli Designs for Diwali

IMG_0664Make Rangolis

Option 1: Rangoli  – using salt and watercolors

  • Create an interesting pattern on cardstock and go over it with glue
  • Pour Salt over the glue
  • Drop small watercolor pain droplets and watch the colors grow!

Option 2: Rangoli  – cardboard and paint

  • Cut out a flower or basic components of the Rangoli design on cardboard
  • Give each member of the family one part to decorate
  • Collect and glue back to give it shape.

Option 3: Rangoli  – paper plates and foam stickers

 

  • Take simple paper plates, and decorative stickers or foam stickers.
  • Create any design you want!

 

 

First Day of Diwali: Dhanteras

dhanterasOn Dhanteras, Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, is worshipped to provide prosperity and well-being.  In the evening, the lamp is lit and Dhan-Lakshmi is welcomed into the house.  Rangoli designs are drawn on pathways, devotional hymns are sung, sweets and fruits are offered to the Goddess.

Some follow the tradition of buying gold or silver jewelry or utensils to venerate the occasion of Dhanteras.  Many wear new clothes of jewelry as they light the first lamp of Diwali.

Dhanteras oftentimes means the lady of the house receives steel or glass items for her kitchen – dishware, glasses, any item for the kitchen.  In the past, this used to be steel, now, glass is more common, so glass is given.  Maharani Mama Kavita has a tradition of ordering a Cutco knife each year, it’s a great purchase, great quality, and is steel.  What traditions do you follow on Dhanteras?

Partnership with Pratham

We arDiwali Booke pleased to announce our fundraising effort via sale of children’s books on Indian culture. We are launching with a book about Diwali, “Lots of Lights” targeted to kids in preschool/kindergarten.  Helping children understand Indian culture allows them to be better global citizens, and for Indian children in America, it allows them to learn about their culture in a fresh and relevant way.

100% of all profits will be donated to Pratham, an organization committed to spreading literacy in India that has already reached 1.6million and been recognized by leading foundations including Skoll, Gates and Hewett.

Please forward this post to all your friends and family to help support literacy here and abroad.

Books can be purchased here (https://www.createspace.com/4328544 )

Karva Chauth Reflection

The moon came out at 10pm…what the??? Hopefully, you ladies were able to break fast earlier. As I was reflecitng on the experience of the “aunties”, I realized that the holiday was more about sisterhood. They had spent most of the day together watching movies, putting on mehndi and getting ready. The husbands joined later in the evening and were socializing in a seperate area most of the night. Then I found this explanation on wikkipedia that made the expereicne make more sense to me so thought I would share. It seems the holiday is more about sisterhood! Karva Chauth Moon

“Earlier, girls sometimes barely teenagers used to get married, go and live with their in-laws in very remote villages. Everyone would be a stranger there for the new bride. In case she had any problems with her husband or in-laws, she would have no one to talk to or seek support from. Her own parents and relatives would be quite far and unreachable. Telephones, buses and trains were not heard of in those days. People had to walk almost a whole day to go from one place to other. Once the girl left her parent’s home for in-laws, she might not be back before long. Thus the custom started that, at the time of marriage, when bride would reach her in-laws, she would befriend another woman there who would be her friend (kangan-saheli) or sister (dharam-behn) for life. It would be like god-friends or god-sisters. Their friendship would be sanctified through a small Hindu ceremony right during the marriage. The bride’s friend would usually be of the same age (or slightly older), married into the same village (so that she would not go away) and not directly related to her in-laws (so there was no conflict of interest later). Emotionally and psychologically, it would be very healthy and comforting for the bride to have her own ‘relative’ near her.Once the bride and this woman had become god-friends or god-sisters, they would recognize their relation as such. They would treat each other like real sisters. During any issues later in life, involving even the husband or in-laws, these women would be able to confidently talk or seek help from each other. Moreover, the bride’s parents would treat her friend just like their own daughter. Thus Karva Chauth started as a festival to celebrate this special bond of friendship between the brides and their god-friends . The notion of praying and fasting for the husband came much later and is secondary. It was probably added, along with other mythical tales, to enhance the meaning of the festival. In any case, husbands would always be associated with this festival, because the day of starting this friendship between two god-sisters was essentially the day of bride’s marriage to him. Hence praying and fasting for him by his wife during a celebration of her relationship with the god-friend would seem quite logical. A few days before Karva Chauth, married women would buy new karvas (spherical clay pots) — 7″-9″ in diameter and 2-3 litres capacity — and paint them on the outside with beautiful designs. Inside they would put bangles and ribbons, home-made candy and sweets, make-up items, and small clothes. The women would then visit each other on the day of Karva Chauth and exchange these karvas.”

Godh Bharai Celebration

Godh BharaiGodh Bharai is a special occasion for Hindu married women.  This event most commonly occurs during the 7th month of pregnancy in North India.  In other parts of India the event is also common, but with subtle variations – it is known as Shaad in Bengal, Seemandham in Kereala, and Valaikappu in Tamil Nadu.  The common meaning of Godh Bharai in the Hindu tradition is filling the lap with kid.

During the seventh month of pregnancy, the baby has reached a safe stage, and that is why this occasion is celebrated at the end of the 7th month or the beginning of the 8th month.  The main significance of Godh Bharai is to wecome a little baby into your family.  During this occasion, the lap of the mother is filled with various gifts and fruit.   This is a celebration and a time of joy and happiness for the family.

This occasion includes many special accessories like jewelry, gifts, fruit, and sweets.  Singing and dancing are also included in the special event.  During the occasion, the lap of the mother is filled with various items from the mother and mother-in-law of the pregnant woman.  These items include coconut marked with swastika, betel nuts, silver coins, and moong.  These items are considered a good omen in the Indian tradition.  Thus the mother is blessed with happiness and joy in her future.

Like other fun baby showers or baby-related functions, this event can also be full of fun and amusement.  It may also include fun games like guessing the sex of the baby, and names for the coming baby.  This wonderful event is a time where all family members come together and celebrate with each other.  During this occasion, everyone gives blessings to the coming baby.

The exepectant lady is invited to sit on a baajotth and a small red dot is put on her forehead that signified good luck for the mother.  After this her lap if filled with various ornaments, fruit, and sweets by her mother and mother in law.

Sometimes a yellow thread is put on the wrist of the expectant lady by her sister in law.  She is also offered a cup of sweet curd, to provide an element of austerity to the occasion.  The yellow thread is significant for the prot

Godh Bharai setup

ection of the expectant mom and her baby, protecting them from evil spirits and blessing them with happiness and joy.  Traditional and melodious songs are sung by the ladies in the background, these songs protect the mother and baby from any bad actions.

The highlight of the event is obviously the elaborate food spread which consists of food items that the mother-to-be craves for.  Traditionally, the woman is decked in a green-coloured sari (as green denotes fertility), and made to sit on a specially adorned seat, typically a decorated swing.  In the US few houses have traditional swings, so a background is greated of sari and other Indian fabrics.

In a humorous vein, the mother is asked to pick up a wrapped sweet of her chouce & if she picks a “pedha”, she is said to be carrying a boy, while a “barfi” is supposed to indicate a girl!

Décor Ideas:

-       Theme colors could be gold and red, or gold and fuschia, or even turquoise and gold if you want to do something modern and fresh

-       Table décor could be a table runner of red rose petals with interspersed tea lights, or anything creative you can come up with

-       A dessert table table is always fun – bake American or Indian desserts for display

 

Games:

-       Baby Name suggestions in a bowl

-       You could hire someone to make mehendi designs on the hands of the mother and relatives

-       You could do American baby shower games to make it a more fun environment for adults and kids both

 

Ceremony:

-       the expectant lady and her husband sit in the seats of honor, she should have a decorative cloth in her lap to hold her gifts

-       One thali should have everything for tika.  Red powder, rice, red string, coconut with swastika, lit dia, and small mitai to feed the couple

-       Nearby should also be a thali full of nuts, everyone who does tika to the couple can also put a handful of nuts in the expectant lady’s lap

-       And a thali of mitai as décor nearby would add to the decorations

 

Preparation:

-       Decorate the front of the house with Christmas lights like you would Diwali, to create a festive mood

-       Find a space inside the home that’s great for seating the husband and wife who are expecting, decorate the wall behind them with draped sari or bhandej fabrics.  Lay fabric on the chairs where they will sit.  Nearby set up a table with the thali, mithai, cloth for her lap, etc.

-       Set up a place for buffet, tables for guests to sit, a bar for drinks, an appetizer table for light snacks, a dessert table with all dessert offerings.

Diwali Sweet Switch (Cookie Party)

Diwali is just around the corner and before you get lost in pumpkins, you should think about planning a Diwali Sweet Swich. I usually just invite the ladies and do a veggie biryani and have all the girls bring cookies. At the dollar store you can get cute cookie tins for everyone to fill with treats and get in the holiday spirit. If the tins are covered in Christmas décor, you can spray paint them.

IMG_4001

Ahoi Ashtami

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Celebrated in autumn on the Ashtami day, the Ahoi festival or Ahoi Ashtami is a fast observed by mothers for the well-being of their sons (here in the US we do it for all our kids). The Ahoi Ashtami is usually celebrated in the months of October-November or the Karthik month (specifically the 8th day after full moon) in the Hindu calendar. Very similar to Karwa Chauth, although not as popular, the Ahoi Ashtami is performed mostly by people living in the North of India.  There is a folktale that goes along with the holiday, but we look it as a holiday to celebrate these beautiful children that God has blessed us with.

IMG_3968

 

Maharani Mamas:  We get together and put fruit on a thali, pull out our framed “Ahoi Ashtami Image” that is framed, play a YouTube video to do an aarti, and then break our fast together afterward.  For us, fasting is whatever you want it to be.  So Maharani Shivani has fruit and juice throughout the day, Kavita does no food, only chai.

 

 

Here is the Ahoi Ashtami Image that we use:

Scan 2

Holi-Daze

Holi marks the start of Spring!  Here are some fun ways to celebrate with kids.

Holi Book - We Throw Color on Each Other

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Read books about Holi. Favorite Pick “We Throw Color on Each Other

IMG_6169

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Have them wear white shirts and blow colored bubbles, which are available at Target. It was a nightmare trying to create them.

3.  Glue crayons to a canvas and use a blowdryer to watch color go everywhere.

4. Fill up water guns with colored water and let them lose.

5. For younger kids, use food coloring on cool whip and let them paint each other with it.

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