Well, maybe its not here quite just yet, but I was out celebrating Holi, which is a Hindu festival focused on the start of spring, this weekend. It is one where we dance and throw powdered colour at each other, celebrating the vibrancy of life and the joy of spring.
It was organised by a volunteer group in my local area (Wimbledon Indians), who want to create an open and welcoming environment for the local Hindu community to meet, enjoy our festivals and help our children understand their heritage a bit better.
Overcoming the moans from my teenage son, whilst trying to keep the excitement in my 10 year old daughter in check, we headed off to a local school, who had agreed to let us ‘play holi’ on their grounds.
Talking to my kids about the stories behind the festival and why we celebrate it, got very little interest from either of them.
Yet, experiencing the amazing drumming, the vibrant dancing and the ultimate messy playtime with the colours really made it come to life for them. Suddenly, it starts to mean something. Add to that a decent dose of good Indian food, and they were happy bunnies for the rest of the day.
My point is this: We have to keep our various, diverse cultures alive, not in library books or TV programmes, but through first hand involvement. Celebrating diversity in the classroom isn’t enough. It has to be felt and experienced in person. That is the only real way of keeping the wonderful cultures we are lucky enough to have on our doorsteps, meaningful and relevant.