Namaste HAF Parents!
With Holi just around the corner, the Hindu American Foundation is proud to announce our annual National Teach Holi in School Week, March 17 - 21. As a sister project of the National Teach Diwali in School Week, we’ve taken care of the planning with this Holi Toolkit to help you introduce Holi to your children and their classmates. All you need to do is select some of the suggested activities, purchase a few supplies, and arrange a time with your child’s teacher to pay a visit to the classroom.
Like Diwali, Holi is also one of the most anticipated and widely celebrated Hindu festivals, yet many of our neighbors, teachers, and friends haven’t heard about it. HAF urges you to contact your child’s teacher today and request the opportunity to share a fun and informative Holi presentation with the entire class.
HAF’s Holi Toolkit is constructed as a guideline for your classroom presentation. In here, you will find everything you need to celebrate the festival in a classroom -- from how to explain the meaning of Holi to snack items to group activity ideas. We’ve included links to coloring pages to create the suggested crafts, as well as a colorful PowerPoint presentation
for your use. We also encourage you to incorporate your own ideas into your presentation and share them with us for future toolkits.
Best wishes and Happy Holi to you from all of us here at HAF!
Introduction to Holi
Holi is a Hindu festival that will be celebrated worldwide on March 17 this year. In welcoming spring and a bountiful harvest, it is during Holi that adults and children alike throw gulal, or colored powder, at one another -- not to mention colored water, as well! As the skies and streets are filled with color, it is no surprise that Holi is said to be the “Festival of Colors.”
There are several legends about the origin of Holi. One that fondly comes to mind is the story of Prince Prahlad.
Once upon a time, there lived a demon king named King Hiranyakashipu. He believed that he was all-powerful and could not be defeated. In fact, he was so proud of himself that he made a law requiring his subjects to worship him only and not God. However, young Prince Prahlad, the king’s own son, broke this law daily with his prayers to Lord Vishnu, and he refused to stop, regardless of what his father said. Frustrated and angry, his father tried to have Pralad hurt and even killed; but no matter what the king tried, Prahlad was always saved. Finally, the king turned to his sister Holika, who had a special power: Holika could never be harmed by fire. To help her brother, Holika decided she would take Prahlad into a fire pit and burn the little boy to ashes -- because remember? Fire could not harm Holika. But Lord Vishnu would never allow any harm to his true devotee. He saved Prahlad and allowed Holika to burn.
Another story for Holi goes back to when Lord Krishna was a little boy. Lord Krishna was a very mischievous child. He loved playing pranks on his friends and family, and he loved teasing them too, especially his best friend, Radha. One day, he asked his mother, why he was so dark-skinned, while Radha and his other friends were so fair. His mother playfully suggested that if he threw color on Radha’s face, he could change her face to whatever color he wished. Fascinated by this idea, young Krishna began the tradition of throwing color on Holi.
As per Hindu tradition, whether celebrating with friends or strangers, bosses or coworkers, grandparents or children, Holi is celebrated with great gusto with zero formalities and complete festivities. With music in the air and colored powder floating all around, no one can help but smile at the sight.
Celebrating Holi in the Classroom
From gulal to water balloons to yummy snacks, you can help bring Holi to your child’s classroom.
Creating a festive atmosphere...
- Introduce yourself with “Namaste” and explain that it is a traditional Hindu greeting that translates to “The Divine in me, bows to the Divine in you.” It is based on the belief that God or the Divine lives within each one of us. Materials needed: HAF provided PowerPoint presentation.
- Play your favorite Indian music lightly in the background during the Holi presentation, while doing arts and crafts with the kids and/or while snacking on food.
- Dress in Indian clothes and encourage the classroom teacher to do the same. If possible, wear a white outfit. The color white is worn on Holi to allow the vibrant colors that are thrown at one another to shine!
- Bring bindis or bangles for all the girls and tilaks for the boys.
Legendary tales are best told over a campfire...
- Holi is the celebration of Spring, usually beginning with the lighting of bonfires. Create the custom in the classroom by throwing a blanket on the floor and having a pretend campfire indoors, while narrating the tales of Holi. Make the pretend campfire by arranging rocks or bean bags in a circle, and placing sticks and colorful tissue paper on top. A flashlight tucked underneath will create the glowing effect. Materials needed: Rocks, sticks, colorful tissue paper, flashlight.
- Snack idea! No campfire is complete without s’mores. Pre-make s’mores at home by following these instructions. Materials needed: gelatin-free marshmallows, Hershey’s chocolate, graham crackers.
Take a breath of fresh air and welcome Spring!
- Arrange for a field trip to a neighborhood park and volunteer to garden and clean up the park, while making a difference!
- Take the kids outside and teach them how to draw rangoli designs on the ground. Materials needed: colored chalk.
- Kids can go outside and throw gulal and/or water balloons at one another. Materials needed: gulal, water balloons. Optional: plain white T-shirts for each child, pichkaris if available.
- Fun tip: Make your own natural, eco-friendly gulal water by following these instructions from Gnaana.
- Indoor version: Sometimes going outside isn’t an option. In that case, keep the fun inside by providing kids with colored confetti, flower petals, and/or silly string to throw at one another. Materials needed: Colored confetti, flower petals, silly string.
- Note: Please consult with teacher before planning this activity so parents can dress their kids in appropriate clothing in advance. (This activity may be better suited for the last hour of the school day.) Also, make sure no child is allergic to the gulal or flower petals.
Encourage kids to express their creativity in color...
- Kids can color in their very own pichkaris (or water guns), rangoli, and other Holi-themed designs. Materials needed: HAF-provided coloring pages of Holi-themed designs (option 1; option 2; option 3), markers/crayons/colored pencils.
- Work with the classroom teacher to have the kids bring in plain, white t-shirts (or you can supply yourself) and use finger paint to create fun, colorful memorabilia they can wear. Materials needed: White t-shirts, finger paint.
- Kids can create colorful masterpieces of art by painting with tissue paper. Materials needed: heavy white paper, colorful tissue paper, spray bottle, water.
- Tear the colored tissue paper into small pieces and arrange them on the heavy paper.
- Spray the project with water. Make sure that all of the tissue is wet and touching the paper below.
- Let dry. As the tissue dries, the color will bleed onto the paper below. Anywhere that the tissue colors overlap will give a blend of color that can create something unique.
- After the project is completely dry, remove the tissue. Note: If you remove the tissue too soon, the paper underneath may get damaged or torn.
No Holi-day is complete without food...
- Bring in cookies, candies or chocolates.
- Bring in mini-samosas or namak pares from a local Indian shop.
- Bring in ladoos or gujias from a local Indian shop.
Note: When preparing food items, consult with the classroom teacher regarding food allergies, namely nut and dairy.
Coloring pages are courtesy of www.thecolor.com.