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Helping Foster Children Celebrate Bandi Chhor Divas

Helping your foster children celebrate Bandhi Chhor Diwas is a wonderful opportunity to foster cultural connection, instil values, and create cherished memories.

October 23 2023 - 4 min read

Bandhi Chhor Diwas is a joyous and significant festival celebrated by Sikhs around the world. It commemorates the release of Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji, the sixth Guru of Sikhism, and signifies the triumph of light over darkness. As a foster parent, you have the opportunity to support and celebrate Bandhi Chhor Diwas with your foster children, fostering cultural connection and a sense of belonging.

We explore ten meaningful ways to help your foster children celebrate Bandhi Chhor Diwas, as well as the reasons why a connection to their faith is so important.

10 ways to celebrate Bandhi Chhor Diwas

Educate about Bandhi Chhor Diwas

Begin by educating your foster children about the significance of Bandhi Chhor Diwas. Share the historical context of Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji's release from prison, emphasising the values of freedom, justice, and righteousness. Use age-appropriate resources such as books, videos, or stories to engage them in learning.

Decorate the home

Create a festive atmosphere in your home by decorating it with vibrant colors, lights, and traditional Sikh symbols like the Khanda or Ik Onkar. Encourage the children to participate in the decoration process, allowing them to feel a sense of ownership and pride in preparing for the celebration, as well as feeling like they belong within their foster family.

Engage in kirtan (devotional singing)

Kirtan - devotional singing - holds a significant place in Sikh traditions. Play devotional Sikh hymns or Shabads during the celebration. Encourage the children to join in singing and experience the uplifting power of the music. This will help them connect with the spiritual essence of Bandhi Chhor Diwas.

Prepare traditional food

When it comes to food, it’s important to be mindful that many children in care have come from neglectful or abusive households, where food could have been restricted or used as punishment. They might not have tried any traditional Sikh food before either. Be encouraging but gentle in your approach to introduce your foster child to the culinary delights of Bandhi Chhor Diwas. You could cook or share traditional Sikh dishes like Karah Prasad (holy offering), Pinni (sweet flour-based dessert), or Langar (community kitchen) meals. Involve them in the preparation process, teaching them about the significance of sharing and community while having lots of fun! Also prepare some ‘safe’ food like chips or pizza, just in case they aren’t ready to try anything new but still want to help with preparations.

Attend Gurdwara services

Visit your local Gurdwara, the Sikh place of worship, during Bandhi Chhor Diwas. Participate in the special prayer services and kirtan programs held to commemorate the occasion. Encourage the children to observe the traditions and rituals followed in the Gurdwara, fostering a sense of connection to the Sikh community.

Engage in sewa (selfless service)

Bandhi Chhor Diwas emphasises the importance of selfless service, which is a wonderful characteristic to teach. Engage your foster children in acts of sewa, such as volunteering at a local food bank or participating in community litter-picking. This will instill values of compassion, generosity, and equality within them.

Create art and crafts

Encourage your foster children to express their creativity by engaging in art and crafts activities related to Bandhi Chhor Diwas. Create handmade greeting cards, Rangoli designs (traditional floor art), or paint pictures depicting the festival's themes. This artistic engagement will help them connect with the visual elements of the celebration.

Explore Sikh history and philosophy

Use Bandhi Chhor Diwas as an opportunity to delve deeper into Sikh history and philosophy with your foster children. Read books or watch documentaries about Sikh Gurus, the teachings of Sikhism, and the core values of the faith. Engage in discussions and encourage them to ask questions, fostering their understanding and appreciation of Sikh culture.

Celebrate with the Sikh community

Connect with the local Sikh community and attend Bandhi Chhor Diwas celebrations organised by Sikh organisations or Gurdwaras. Participate in Nagar Kirtan processions (religious processions), where the Sikh community comes together to sing hymns, share food, and celebrate. Engaging with the community will help your foster children develop a sense of belonging and connect with their Sikh heritage.

Share family stories and traditions

Sadly, your foster child might not have many happy memories of Bandhi Chhor Diwas, or the occasion brings up a lot of emotion for them while they’re away from their birth family. You could try to help by sharing your own family’s stories or traditions, in a safe and open space. Let them know what this holiday means to you and your family, and how you’re looking forward to creating new memories with your young person. This could help to strengthen their sense of belonging within the foster home, and perhaps change their perception of the holiday as a whole.

Helping your foster children celebrate Bandhi Chhor Diwas is a wonderful opportunity to foster cultural connection, instill values, and create cherished memories. By educating them about the significance of the festival and engaging in all these fun and meaningful activities, you can provide a nurturing environment and help them develop a deeper appreciation for Bandhi Chhor Diwas, as well as feel a sense of love, belonging, and cultural pride.

Could you foster a Sikh child?

We are always looking for more amazing people to join our family of foster parents, especially from religious backgrounds like Sikhism. Our approach to fostering is inclusive, so whatever your language is, we’ll speak it, and whatever your religion is, we’ll respect it. Please enquire today to find out more about foster care and if it could be right for you.

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