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Kids Learn Hindu Heritage At Camps

May 2004
Kids Learn Hindu Heritage At Camps

Kids Learn Hindu Heritage At Camps

More than 150 Hindu-American kids in Metro Atlanta spent their Spring Break last week learning about their rich culture and heritage at the Hindu Heritage Camps organized by the Atlanta chapter of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS). The camps took place in the cities of Dunwoody, Marietta, Alpharetta and Norcross, spanning all four major counties in Northern Atlanta.

Engaging and exciting, the camp presented knowledge on Hindu culture, its traditions, customs, and samskaar (values) in a dynamic way. The day began with the assembly, introduction, and orientation to the participants. This was followed by traditional exercises like shareer sanchalan, paada sanchalan, satat yog, along with yoga and suryanamaskar. Following yoga, the kids played cultural games and screamed slogans, expressing various traditional and cultural values in a fun way. For example, the significance of the Hindu greeting of Namaste, meaning, "I bow to the divinity within you", was explained with the help of a couple of games.

The afternoon began with a story-telling session on the life of Lord Krishna, peppered with a Krishna-bhajan specially composed for kids born and brought up in the West. Shlokas such as the Bhojan Mantra and the Saraswati Mantra that are recited for blessings before eating and studying were taught. After lunch began arts and crafts, which included coloring pictures of Raksha Bandhan and Maha-Shivratri and making beaded bracelets to learn the significance of tying Rakhis. Sarita Vaidya notes, "My 7 year-old daughter is now eagerly waiting for Raksha Bandhan so that she can tie the rakhi she made for her brother. All these years, Raksha Bandhan was not a significant event for her. The camp has changed that."

The evening continued with the airing of an animated movie on the epic Ramayana, followed by a short and simple quiz on the essence of the movie, and concluded with a prayer.

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