This weekend, Sikh’s around the world will celebrate Vaisakhi. Vaisakhi is a dual celebration for Punjabi Sikhs. It celebrates the harvest for farmers, and honours Khalsa Sirjina Diwas/the birth of the Khalsa Panth.
Like many North American parents, I struggle with teaching my kids about festivals, holidays, and religious observances. I’m always trying to balance the teaching with authentic experiences – so they don’t actually realize I’m teaching them something!
Whenever I start to think about all the lessons I’d like to pass on to my kids around culture and religion, it starts to get a bit overwhelming. So, I went to my mom for some support this year. I asked her to help me narrow down the most important lessons/discussions to have around Vaisakhi. I’m sharing my list of ideas with you in hopes that it might spark some discussions at your house this weekend.
Khalsa Sirjina Divas
Tell your kid’s the story of the day Guru Gobind Singh ji made the Khalsa. Discuss his decision to choose ‘panj pyare’ from different castes. (reading notes here)
Discuss the significance of the khanda with your kids. The khanda symbolizes our dual responsibility as Sikhs; to provide food and protection for the needy and oppressed. It is the visual representation of our slogan ‘Deg Teg Fateh’ – to victory, to charity, and arms.
3 Basics of Sikhi
In our family we focus on the three basics of Sikhi that we try to instill in our children:
Naam Japo: Remember Waheguru and meditate on his name.
Kirat Karo: Work with determination and honesty, and use the talent’s Waheguru has given you.
Vand Chhako: Share your wealth and participate in charitable causes.
If you’d really like to get your kids into the spirit of Vaisakhi and start some serious discussions, take them to your local Nagar Kirtan. Observe and walk with the floats, and answer any questions your kids might have as openly and honestly as you can. And remember, if you don’t remember the answer or get stuck on something, it’s okay to go to Nani/Nani, or Dadi/Dadi together for support!