Sacred And Divine Animals Of India

Holy Cow In India

A vital part of Indian culture is respecting nature as well as diverse religions. This secular country has a strong belief in the divinity of animals, especially the ones referred to in Indian mythology and ancient Indian culture scripts and texts.

The cow, for example, is considered to be one of the holiest animals in India. In fact, it is revered so much that the slaughter of the animal is banned throughout the country. The cow is treated as a God who has taken the form of an animal. It is fed, nurtured and can often be found in and around temples.

Indian Sacred Animals

The monkey is considered to be a form of Hanuman – the God of power and strength. Serpents are also important as they can be seen worn around the neck of Shiva as an ornament. The worship of serpent deities can be seen in several old cultures, Hinduism being one of them.

The elephant has an important presence in Indian culture. For one, it is the vehicle of Indra. Secondly, Ganesha – the elephant-headed God – is one of the most beloved deities in India. He is considered to be the deity of success and education and can be found to be worshiped by people across the country.

Tigers and Lions are the vehicle of Hindu deity MaaDurga, and are also looked upon as sacred. Apart from the religious beliefs associated with it, the Royal Bengal Tiger in all its strength and glory is also the National Animal of India.

Inducing Indian Culture And Etiquette Among Kids

Indian Cuisine

Kids are likely to pick up the culture they are most exposed to. Living in a foreign land, it becomes difficult to have your children learn their native culture. Let’s look at a few ways to induce Indian culture and etiquette in your kids.

Indian culture is vibrant. Let them experience different aspects of it. Visit an Indian folk dance with them, or expose them to ancient Indian culture through art. They are also likely to enjoy the food – it’s in their genes after all! You can either cook it yourself or visit one of the many restaurants that provide Indian food for kids. Don’t hesitate to wear Indian clothes. All children reach an age where they need to find their own identity, and fashion is an easy way to get through to them.

Indian Festival

While planning your vacations, keep India in mind. The country is geographically, and culturally diverse. Your children can see everything from a desert to a snow-land, a super-urban city to a village, in India.

Following festivals is also an important part of inducing Indian culture and etiquette among your kids. Be it Diwali or Holi, there is a joy in learning about and celebrating different festivals.

Most importantly, don’t force too much upon your kids. They have a mind of their own and sometimes reject things that are forced too strongly upon them. Instead, keep in mind that children are most likely to learn by example, so make sure you incorporate Indian culture into your life so that they can learn from their earliest role models.

Jano Bee 2013 Press Release

BeePressRelease2013

 

Saree: An Enticing Indian Woman’s Dress

Traditional Saree From India

Probably one of the oldest attires ever invented in India, Saree is the traditional outfit of most Indian women, beautiful, enchanting and comfortable at the same time. An unstitched length of fabric, usually six to nine yards long is draped around the body to gracefully decorate the female form. Worn with traditional or modern jewellery, and matched with a lovely blouse, the beauty and grace of a saree is second to no other Indian outfit.

Thanks to the advent of fashion, the saree has undergone several changes over the years, in the manner in which it is draped around the body. Those new to this Indian garb would probably be amazed to know that this six yards length of fabric can be worn in a zillion ways, with each community and region in India having their own style of draping it.

Traditional Indian Saree

Women In Indian Costume

In the western state of Maharashtra for example, the traditional saree form is called navvari which literally translates to nine yards. This form of saree looks like a man’s dhotifrom behind and looks extremely beautiful worn with traditional gold or pearl jewellery, especially the nose pin. In Gujarat the saree is worn with pleats in the front facing the right. Pleats are made by gathering a portion of the saree and folding it symmetrically into small sections. It is worn with apetticoat which is a waist-to-floor garment, tied tightly at the waist by a drawstring. The pallu which a section of the is worn over the right shoulder in Gujarat and Rajasthan, unlike in many other states where it is draped over the left shoulder. In Bengal the saree is draped around the body without any pleats, due to the influence of strong traditions and a simple lifestyle. Towards south, in Coorg, the Saree is pleated at the back and forms a fan at the rear, witha small section of the Pallu tucked in.

Irrespective of the style of draping it, the saree is one of the most beautiful and elegant outfits which is now also doing the rounds of international ramps.

Jano Hindi Bee 2013

imagesLast Sunday while gazing through the farmers market I stumbled upon a booth with Vivekananda’s picture on it. Moreover the text ‘Bee’ caught my attention. Being an active member of ‘Jano Bee’ I was curious to find out more and to my utter amazement it turned out to be a ‘Vedanta Bee’. While discussing about their concept, I was introduced to one of the organizers and I found out his daughter was studying Hindi in one of our Hindi classes. What a small world!! The father was very excited about this year’s ‘Jano Hindi Bee’ competition and was happy about the changes in the structure of the competition. I always feel motivated whenever i meet enthusiastic parents like this.

On my way back, I was drawn to the memory lane of last year’s Jano Bee Competition and how we have come a long way. The idea of Hindi Bee sprouted form the constant persuasion of parents to involve more conversation in our classes. We knew that understanding the meaning of what we speak is a major part of conversation and kids here are not exposed to Hindi as much as English & Spanish. Finally we zeroed upon the idea of building their vocabulary. In lower levels they would only learn meanings of the Hindi words and moving forward in higher levels they will keep on building vocabulary as well as start using those words in meaningful sentences. Which definitely makes more sense as then the whole platform of making sentences and using those words anywhere is available rather than just learning a bunch of conversation sentences. Hence, Jano Hindi Bee came into existence in 2012.

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Welcome Speech Jano Bee 2012

The best thing about past is, after passing by it gives us a chance to improve. Constant improvement is very important for any kind of growth be it personal, organizational or spiritual. Despite of having a great response during ‘Jano Hindi Bee 2012′ we saw there is a lot of room for improvement.

LOCATION: We decided to change our Bee location to a school so that we have a big area. We couldn’t think of a better place than our summer camp location Scott Lane Elementary School, Santa Clara. Location change will give us the freedom to conduct the competition in separate rooms for each group of 10-12 contestants. It will provide ample seating area for parents watching the competition. Hopefully it will also give more serenity to the judges.

5 WORD ELIMINATION: We were not very excited about the 1 word elimination on the final day. It made us re-think our competition structure. A kid learning 200 vocabulary words is eliminated just because he/she does not know 1 meaning seemed unfair and heartbreaking to us. This ain’t a college entrance exam, our main idea is to help them

build their vocabulary and in the process have a healthy competition where they can rewarded for their endeavors. We decide to have ’5 WORD ELIMINATION’ where kids will get 5 words in 5 turns and then based on the scores lowest scorer will be eliminated which our panel agreed to is fair.

 TIE ROUNDS: Believe it or not last year our final round for Div 1 with only 10 contestants went on for over an   hour. The kids were sooo good!!! Hats DSC_7858off to them, their teachers and their parents. They knew the meanings of entire vocabulary words and all the tie words. At one point we were sure that we might have more than 3 winners. This was a huge learning for us and we removed the concept of giving the tie words to the kids. This year we have include reading and writing rounds respectively for Tie1 and Tie 2. The limitations of these rounds are base upon the level they are in their Hindi class. It fits perfect with our Hindi class curriculum as kids are learning the script in class.

 

Kids are busy preparing for the competition and we are just 7 weeks away from our ‘Jano Hindi Bee’- 2013, which is on Saturday, March 23rd. We await eagerly for the final Bee day, meanwhile we are keeping ourselves busy with finalizing all the minute details of the competition. Don’t forget to be there to cheer these young contestants in their process of mastering Hindi…

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Left: Youngest Bee participant, 4.5 years old

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The Perks

 

Jalebi: The Celebration Sweet of India

While craving for a sweet dish, your first instinct might be to reach out for a candybar or some icecream, but you haven’t really tasted ‘sweet’ until you’ve tried jalebi. Known by different names around the India (and the world), this sweet dish is known as the most popular and the most scrumptious sweet within the Indian community. Easy to prepare and delightful on the palette, jalebi is also known as Jilawii or Jalibi. In India, Gujaratis love to indulge in it with Sambharo and fried chillies, especially during a Sunday brunch.

Indian Sweet Jalebi

Specially when you’re thinking about Indian food for kids, jalebi should be first to pop into your head. This sweet delight made up of never ending circles is popular among the kids not only for its take but also the joy of chomping down on them while holding them in your hands. The origins of the dish can be traced back to ancient India where it was called Kundalika. You can even find the earliest references to it in ancient cook books dating as far back as the 13th century. In the early 1900s it was used to hold ice cream, and at some point of time was also considered to be a remedy for headaches.

Today, with everything else put aside, it is accepted as the celebration sweet of India and enjoyed by Indians around the world, who love sweets as well as Indian culture. It’s crispy core and sweet syrupy exterior delight tastebuds and help Indians revel in celebrations across the world.