National Shishu Shibir 2008
5 July 2008, Neasden, London
On Saturday 5 July 2008, the National Shishu Shibir entitled ‘Utsavno Rang’ was held at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London. 240 shishus (aged 3-8) and approximately 150 parents attended the Shibir which was full of fun, enjoyment and lots to learn.
The hall was beautifully decorated with items from traditional festivals such as kites, Hindolo, Annakut, Rath Yatra, etc. Yogvivek Swami inaugurated the Shibir with the Deep Pragatya ceremony. Anandpriya Swami then introduced everyone to our festivals and explained their importance.
In the next session, karyakars explained the history of the Jaljhilani festival through an interactive session. The children were split into groups with each group given a small puzzle to complete. When completed, each group brought their piece to the front where it formed part of a bigger puzzle. The children were also taught how to make paper boats. They then had the opportunity to sail the boats in the mandir moat.
Following this session, the 3-5 year olds enjoyed a puppet show highlighting Swaminarayan Jayanti. The 6-8 year olds had a dramatised story delivered to them. This was followed by the Swaminarayan Jayanti lunch in which the children cut the cake and had a party celebrating the birth of Ghanshyam Maharaj.
After lunch, the 3-5 year olds participated in a treasure hunt around the mandir, whilst the 6-8 year olds took part in a session titled ‘Pirate Games’. Through these sessions, the morals of the Rath Yatra were explained to the children. They all then took Thakorji around the mandir in a rath, whilst singing dhun and kirtans.
All the children were given a special gift which would last the whole year rather than simply sit on the shelf for them to remember the event. All the children thoroughly enjoyed themselves and amidst the fun and games, learnt a great deal about our festivals.