Although I am a United states citizen now, my origin is from India. I married an American Indian who was born and brought up here. His upbringing brought him close to indian culture. So much so that there is no culture clash amongst us although he is an American in all respects. But the biggest question was, how do I instill the same culture in the next generation, my son!
When my son was born, I certainly gave it a thought to head back to India to ensure that my son’s Indian roots are nourished. But India in the recent years is losing all the culture and in the guise of becoming modern, it is losing its roots! In fact Indians in US follow more traditions and culture than Indians in India. So I quickly dropped that idea and decided to raise my child in the US. But still, I wanted to provide my son the same cultural environment that I got when I grew up in India.
The other day, back in 2016, I asked my son about festivals and all he could think of was Easter and Easter eggs. No mention of Diwali or Holi. So I decided that from that year on I will celebrate atleast a few Indian traditions to its full glamor. My first attempt was to go to an Indian temple during his birthday and perform an “Archanai” or flower offering to the deity. That went well. The second step was to do an “Ayusha Homam” or Fire ritual for life longevity and prosperity. We have been doing the “Ayusha Homam” since his first birthday and I committed to continue to follow that yearly. My son wore the traditional Veshti (silk cloth wrapped around the hip) and sat through most of the “homam”. I was pretty pleased.
My third attempt was to celebrate the “Navratri” or 9 holy nights to celebrate the success the battle of Goddess Durga over evil. The festival is very colorful and involves showcasing dolls and Dieties on colorful steps. Aditya prepared a train exhibit for the showcase.
A continued effort to instill India tradition (which has been great going so far) is to start “Purna Vidhya” class at my own house. I was able to have 3 more students join this fun adventure every sunday. Vedic Heritage (or Purna Vidhya) is a systematic and organized way to teach Indian culture to kids. I started this program as an endeavor to get my son more interested in India, its mythology and rich origins. So far the class is a great success. I will keep you updated on how it goes. For now, I pray that this education continues to more grounding knowledge and paves the way to a good upbringing. (if anyone is interested in learning more about Purna Vidhya or my classes on Sunday, then please do contact me!)
I am hoping that with the inclusion of such India traditions, atleast a little bit will seep into my son, enough to keep it alive for one more generation.