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Dec 30
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Children’s Day: San Francisco Dzong

SF childby Barry Solomon

‘Twas a splendid afternoon at the second annual Children’s Day at the San Francisco Dzong. Sangha families, friends, and guests gathered together amongst a space decorated with strands of holiday lights for a full afternoon of activities, both to celebrate the winter solstice, the coming of the light, and to honor ones’ own noble being by learning and enacting the qualities of the 4 dignities.

Odessa Spore, a recent transplant from Halifax to the Bay Area, brought with her a rich treasure trove of active traditions customarily performed at the Halifax Children’s Day’s in many years past.

After folks began to arrive around 3pm, Odessa brought all the children into the main shrine room to begin to decorate the Children’s shrine with all the prospective shrine objects, beginning with the Japanese Emperor and Empress dolls, the sense offering bowls, and finally the cherished objects that the children brought from home. Odessa explained the reasons we use the Emperor dolls, and the meaning behind the sense offerings.

Click on photos to view as a slideshow.

Then came snack time and a mixing of all sangha present, followed by the making of jeweled crowns that our prince and princesses would wear in the procession.

Odessa then brought all the children upstairs to explain to them the qualities of Tiger, Lion, Garuda, Dragon. The children would later present a movement offering, expressing their impressions of the dignities before the royal couple and assemblage of sangha.

At 6pm sharp (sort of) the procession slowly cadenced its way through the corridors of the Dzong and into the shrine room. Our King and Queen (David Evans and Kate Merrill), in full royal regalia, led the procession followed by the children. The cadence was certainly enhanced by the beckoning sounds of traditional Bagaku Japanese court flute coming in a distance from the main shrine room as played by Bernie Kamps. The procession itself, moving with the sequenced sounds of a drum, two bells, and a ghandi clack, all played by the kids themselves, helped bring the procession along and into the main shrine room. Lastly, our proud kasung contingent, bringing up the rear, posted colors to flank the royal couple and children’s shrine.

In the main shrine room, the children offered presents that were to be given to needy children. Odessa led the children, reading descriptions of the dignities from the Shambhala Iliana story, as the kids then moved with their impressions by moving with gentle confidence like Tigers, joyously as Lions, flying as Garudas, and being as inscrutable as Dragons.

Our newly formed Shambhala choir then sang a variety of special Children’s Day songs (Sophie, Odessa, Ulysses, and Pascale, and Mathilde). The king and queen then told a tale of the Candleberry Elf, who brings light to an old couple, too ill to make their lights at solstice.

Finishing with a gathering back in the community room, a glass of wine and refreshments, and further holiday merriment was enjoyed by all!

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1 response to “ Children’s Day: San Francisco Dzong ”
  1. Susie Cook
    Dec 30, 2012

    Very good!

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