The festival for flying kites and state-specific sweets, Makar Sakranti is here :-) This one offers many opportunities to tell your children about Indian culture and its diversities!
Though kids enjoy flying kites or relishing jaggery chikki and tilgul laddoos on Makar Sakranti, they may not know the reason behind celebrating this festival. Just like other festivals, we could help them learn this tradition through some fun ways.
Here are some fun ways to get your kids involved in the Makar Sakranti celebrations.
1. Start with teaching your kids the different names of Makar Sakranti (for example, it is called Lohri in Punjab, Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Sakranti in Karnataka, Uttarayan in Gujarat and Makara Vilakku in Kerela) and how it is celebrated across India. That way, they will know about different states and their cultures.
2. On this day, the Sun begins its movement towards the north. People worship the Sun on Makar Sakranti. It's the right time to teach your kids the benefits of sunlight. Also, encourage them to play in the sun and teach them Surya Namaskar. Also, explain them the importance of solar energy as an inexhaustible and non-polluting source of energy. The earlier the kids know it, the better they will learn to appreciate these things.
3. Make chikkis, gajjaks and revdis out of jaggery, and teach them the benefits of consuming jaggery vis-à-vis refined sugar. Introduce jaggery in their meal regularly, as it is an excellent source of iron and some important minerals. They can even help you in cleaning the ingredients like peanuts, sesame seeds, grams, etc. for making chikkis.
4. In many northern states, people distribute revdis, khichdi and warm clothes and blankets to the poor and underprivileged people. Ask your kids to help you with the distribution; this way they learn to share things and not to take things for granted.
5. 'Lohri' is celebrated with much fanfare in Punjab, a day before Makar Sakranti. However, if you do not celebrate 'Lohri', take your kids to a place where it is being celebrated. Or make a bonfire, and roast potatoes, sweet peas, sweet potatoes, pop corns, peanuts and revdis. Kids will enjoy this traditional of roasting and relish the goods.
6. As a part of the Pongal celebrations, the cow is worshipped. Tell your kids the importance of animal welfare and the ecological system.
7. On Makar Sakranti, it's a tradition to clean houses and get rid of unnecessary things. Ask your kids to clean their cupboards and gather toys/games/clothes that are no longer used or necessary. They can donate these items to the nearest orphanage.
8. And last, but not the least, enjoy this day flying kites with your children. If possible, travel to cities like Ahmedabad, Surat and Kutchh in Gujarat for the kite-flying festival. Or get crafty and make one with your child!
Wish you and your kids a very happy Makar Sakranti!!!