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Dec 26
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Celebrating Children’s Day!

Children’s Day celebrations resounded throughout the mandala in the last week. Photos from celebrations at Karme Choling and the Halifax Shambhala Center can be viewed below.

Over the years, the Shambhala community has adopted a tradition of celebrating the changes of season. These special days of celebration are called nyida days – from nyima (“sun”) and dawa (“moon”). Nyida days occur on or near the days of the spring and autumn equinoxes and the summer and winter solstices.

Children’s Day occurs at the time of the winter solstice (in the northern hemisphere.) While all four nyida days are regarded as family-oriented occasions, Children’s Day provides a special opportunity to express appreciation for and with our children. Because the solstice marks the time of year when the night is longest and daylight has waned, light is a special characteristic of this holiday.

Celebration of the winter solstice has its roots in many different cultures. The Shambhala Community has drawn on traditional images associated with this time of year to create a distinctive and rich festival of our own.

At the heart of the Children’s Day festivities is the shrine, the representation of the dignity of the family, the joy and creativity of the youthful heart, and the celebration of the senses. Dharma centers and individual families are encouraged to create a Children’s Day shrine. The shrine can become the main focal point for indoor play for days or weeks. Decorating the shrine is a family project, with special contributions from the children. This is their time to join heaven and earth.

Karme Choling’s Caitlin Heinz shared this from their day:

Oh, the spectacular and brilliant twinkling magic of Children’s Day at Karme Choling! After a morning of crafts and games, our guests and the King and Queen of Shambhala watched a play that Karme Choling staff adapted and produced. Our talents were certainly on display in a magical adventure story of Gesar, King of Ling. A sword fight with shining weapons, a magical egg that came out of someone’s head, an evil king who likes soy sauce, a beautiful but slightly ditzy princess and a heart-pounding horse race with a hip hop dance number all made for a brilliant spectacle no one will forget. We only hope we can out-do ourselves next year!

View Karme Choling’s photos below, courtesy of Seth Wonner and Anne-Marie Keppel. (top 9 photos)

Halifax Shambhala Center’s Children’s Day photos and story below are courtesy of Melissa Howell. (bottom 6 photos)

From Halifax: The jubilant assembly entered the shrineroom, glowing with white lights around the orange posts and all around the perimeter of the room, dozens of candles flickering in front of the shrine and on tables in the center of the shrineroom. The candles on the tables made the entrance magical, but they were removed after everyone was seated to make way for the processional.

The King and Queen of Shambhala, donning kimonos and crowns, made a regal, lungta-filled entrance, complete with a trumpeter, and followed by the court. After a short lhasang, members of the court read poems as the Tiger, Lion, Garuda and Dragon entertained the assembly with colorful costumes, dance and musical accompaniment on the guitar, bells and flute. Their majesties seemed quite pleased with all of the offerings.

They then invited the children to sit at their feet for the story of Iliana and how she brought back the sun, after a long, dark winter. Then the children queued up for a chance to look in the special mirror to see if they have basic goodness. Any who did not see their reflection, would be lacking, but, fortunately, every child saw themselves in the mirror, which meant that they do indeed have basic goodness, and they cheerfully received candies from their majesties to celebrate.

The ceremony was interspersed with everyone singing songs, being led by a choir. We sang songs such as “Unborn, Unborn” and “We Are the Warriors.”

As is traditional with many Shambhala occasions, the evening closed with an elaborate spread of food and drink, socializing and general merriment. Odessa Spore was the maha-coordinator for the event, with the help of many volunteers.

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1 response to “ Celebrating Children’s Day! ”
  1. Please visit our Facebook page to see more wonderful Children’s Day photos.

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fort-Collins-Shambhala-Meditation-Center/188485507834605

    It is a joy to see the kiddos, young and old. May we all retain the childlike quality of spontaneous delight.


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