Children’s Day


Children’s Day is a holiday, held on winter solstice, that provides a special opportunity to express appreciation for and with our children. At a time when the weather begins to bear down upon us, we turn to family for celebration, creativity, and generosity. Because the solstice marks the time of year when daylight has waned and the night is longest, light is a special characteristic of this holiday.



At a time when darkness is prevalent, we celebrate our children and their natural ability to remind us of the warmth, heart, and cheerfulness of basic goodness. 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.



For more information and suggestions on celebrating Children’s Day at home, please refer to this link.  You may also be interested in the offerings, below, to enjoy with your family – reading Children’s Day poems and watching video of the lively and fun dances of the Four Dignities – Tiger, Lion, Garuda, and Dragon – from year 2019 celebration in Halifax.

Children’s Day Video – Offering of the Four Dignities

The videos, below, are the Tiger, Lion, Garuda, Dragon Dignity offerings made to the King and Queen, (Amanda Hester and Jonathan Myers) and the community gathered at the Halifax Shambhala Centre on the eve of the Winter Solstice, Children’s Day, in December of 2019. As has been our tradition in Halifax, before each dance, young children in the community read the poems included in this communication. The poems were written by Jeani Mustain.

The videos were captured by a person in the audience, and as you will see, they are not in any way professionally done. Think of the brilliant capabilities of the Tiger to walk on walls and come to rest in a sideways world. Perhaps this was a harbinger of how our world has been turned upside down–or at least sideways in the past year (2020). The remaining videos all have their feet firmly planted on the ground. Even so, it felt like a good thing to offer these for you to share with your family sometime over this holiday season.

Suggestion: Reading the poems (below) out loud beforehand would certainly enhance your experience, and also, reading them again and finding your own expression in movement of the dignities.

Here is the link for watching the online video: Children’s Day 2019 – 4 Dignities Dance – Video

Dignities: Tiger, Margaret Spore, Lion, Trevor Cervelli, Garuda, Pam Gaines, Dragon, Katie Hanczyark, Sound by Chris Morel, and Video Edit by Robyn Traill

 

Children’s Day Poems

Offering of the Four Dignities – in reciting the poems, please change the pronouns as you wish.

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Tiger

A tiger wears his stripes with a satisfied grin.
He pays attention to where his feet are walking —
what his nose is sniffing —
what his ears are hearing —
what his tongue is licking.

A tiger likes his bouncy feet —
they like to slowly walk,
to run and dance,
they like to squish in the soft green grass.

This tiger likes to be a tiger – not an elephant,
that makes a very special smile.

So sweet to be a tiger, and love the jungle wild.

The children of Shambhala are like young tiger cubs,
with bouncy feet
eager to meet
the ground.

They are happy to be children
walking, talking, sniffing, listening,
making growling sounds.

A flower is meek and friendly and kind,
and so is a child who pays attention to his mind.
We offer our flowers to the tiger who is meek,
children and tigers and flowers so sweet.

Lion

A snow lion
is a very unusual lion.

He likes to race to the top of a mountain,
and stop — and sniff the air,
the cold fresh mountain air.

It fluffs his fur.
The snow tickles his feet into a graceful prancing leap.

He’s white like snow; his mane is turquoise like mountain lakes.

His prancing feet fling snow fluttering into the air.
The wind blows his mane into cloud like curls.
The perky snow lion enjoys his world.

The children of Shambhala are like snow lion cubs.

They learn to dress, to clean their mess,
to pour their tea so gracefully.

Each day they wake and lift their heads to the sky,
to greet the sun with a lion’s cry.

The water of the turquoise mountain lake
is cold and perky and excruciatingly awake.

We splash the mountain lion’s roar,
Children and snow lions offer their joy.

Garuda

Garuda is the king of birds
Outrageously red,
with a beak as sharp as a sword.
Garudas don’t just flap their wings and fly
Garuda spreads his wings, leaps into space,
and soars as high as the sun,
just for fun.

Garuda is outrageously red because he has no fear.
He’s not afraid of being too high in the sky.
He’s not afraid of bumps and thumps and
spooky wooky flying Hefalumps.
He’s not afraid of being all alone
in the giant sky without a phone.
He’s not afraid of anything,
so he’s kind to all living things.

The children of Shambhala are like garuda birds.
They love to fly, higher than sky, relaxing in the wind.
And when their fears bring shakes and lots of tears,
Sometimes, they open eyes and ears,
and with their nose they pierce those fears
like bubbles pricked by pins.

The wind cannot be caught, cannot be fought.
It’s wild and free.
Wind blows through every child and every tree.
We offer the smoke, and let it rise.
Garuda catches a ride to the sky.

Dragon

When mist rises from earth and lakes,
the sleeping dragon wakes.

He leaves his cave, and floats to the sky,
watching the earth like a mischievous spy.

Dragon plays in the wind and clouds;
he makes the lightening and thunder sound.

Rain begins to fall
By his lightening fire, he gently waters all.

The dragon’s magic is his brave and gentle heart
and that,
he’s as playful as a kite,
and takes tremendous delight,
in melting into a cloud,
then surprising the sun with a roar so loud.

The children of Shambhala
are like the inscrutable dragon.

When the dragon children begin to find, they whine,
they change their mind,
and leap into floating playful dragon time.


Above poems were written by Jeani Mustain


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And Remember …

Remember, you are like the tiger when you see, hear, smell taste or touch
Remember, you are like the lion when you play!
Remember, you are like the Garuda when you grow and change, and know what is right for you.
Remember, you are like the Dragon when you remember you have everything you need to be a kind warrior in the world.

Enjoy & cheerful Children’s Day!