What is Children’s Day?

Here’s a brief description of Children’s Day, written by Acharya Noel MacLellan:

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Children’s Day is a celebration of the Winter Solstice in the Shambhala Tradition. This is a time of year when the days have been getting shorter and shorter, but now will begin to grow longer again, so we celebrate the return of the light. We also celebrate the natural light in our lives, which is the beauty of children. This is a time of year to highlight love, family, warmth, and appreciation.

A Children’s Day shrine is one way to gather the magic of this time. A shrine can bring an element of beauty, play and vision into our home. The central figures of the Children’s Day shrine are the King and Queen. They represent the royal goodness that we all possess and that we honour in our children.

The King is the fearlessness of goodness.

The Queen is the gentleness of goodness.

Around them are the four animals that represent the path of dignity—living a full, wakeful life.

The Tiger is friendly, attentive, and powerful. It roams in the jungle, purrs, and pounces with a roar.

The Snow Lion is playful, inquisitive, and perky. It leaps from peak to peak, enjoying the winter air.

The Garuda is fearless. It is the king of birds, and soars through the open sky.

The Dragon is wise and magical. Its dance is the play of wind, water, earth and fire.

Traditionally the Children’s Day shrine includes King and Queen figures. Sometimes offering bowls are placed in front of them, with offerings representing the sense perceptions—a mirror (sight), a small conch shell (sound), saffron water (smell), candies (taste), and a stick with a ribbon tied to it (touch). Stuffed animal or toy tigers, lions, garudas and dragons are also good. In addition, children can be invited to adorn the shrine with their favorite toys and artwork—little soldiers might be palace guards, various animals roam the courtyards, the Kingdom is full of life. Twinkly lights, candles, and fresh evergreen boughs can further enrich the shrine.

Cheerful Children’s Day!

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