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Sometimes it can be difficult to raise your Desi kids in American culture and still feel like they have deep roots that not only tie them to India, but roots that are constantly being strengthened. It can be a balancing act to hold both sets of cultures and traditions and to truly be connected with them all.
We at Indian Ties want to support you on this journey and we try to be a resource that helps link you and your children to the beauty, history, fashion, food, and style of India.
Below are a few tips we think could be beneficial to you and your family as you find your own equilibrium in celebrating your Indian ties. We have included a few links to resources that you might want to consider incorporating. Some of the links are affiliate links. That will not impact what you pay; it allows for a small commission when applicable.
1. Celebrate Indian Festivals
One of the best ways to connect kids with Indian culture is by celebrating Indian festivals. This can mean that you find out if your local community is hosting any celebrations, or you just throw a party on your own! Different cultures and religious groups in India celebrate different festivals, whether it's Diwali, Holi, Navratri, Christmas, or Ramadan, these festivals are a great opportunity to teach children about Indian traditions, customs, and values. Decorate your home, dress yourself and your son or daughter in traditional Indian attire, and involve your kids in the preparations. They will not only have a blast but also develop a deeper appreciation for their Indian heritage. We found this book that highlights the festivals of India - perhaps this would be a good overview with your kids to open up dialogue about which festivals your family celebrates and why that is important to your family and your Indian roots. Land of the Festivals: an Introduction to Indian Culture and Traditions highlights why India is known as "the Land of Festivals" and why India celebrates more festivals than anywhere else in the world!
2. Cook Traditional Indian Dishes Together
Food is a wonderful way to connect with any culture, and Indian cuisine is no exception. The rich colors and smells of authentic Indian spices and seasonings will immerse your kids in the experience of creating delicious Indian food. Get your kids involved in the kitchen and cook traditional Indian dishes together. Consider pulling recipes from the Indian Ties Mega Recipe Bundle , or select from Indian-ish: Recipes and Antics from a Modern American Family for both recipes and entertaining stories. Not only will your family learn about Indian culture, but they will also develop valuable cooking skills that they can carry with them throughout their lives. Make a habit of this practice - get an Indian cookbook that you love and have a set day once a week or once a month where your children are active participants in preparing the meal. Maybe you don't need a cookbook because you already have family recipes - even better! Tell your kids the stories of who wrote the recipes and memories you have of helping to prepare or just enjoying those meals. This Indian Spice Box contains 12 authentic Indian spices if you need to stock up your supply of flavors! There are also smaller versions of this, depending on what you think you'll need.
3. Read Indian Literature
Introduce your kids to the rich world of Indian literature. Look for stories with cultural mirrors that align with your family values. Likewise, stories by Indian authors with Indian characters will captivate children's imagination and ignite a curiosity about Indian culture. Indian Children's Favorite Stories contains 8 Indian fairy tales and folk stories. Read these stories together, discuss their meanings, and encourage your children to retell them in their own words. This will not only help them connect with Indian culture but also foster their creativity and storytelling skills. Kids will also enjoy learning about India's majestic natural beauty, currency, languages and locations from India: Blastoff! Readers: Exploring Countries.
4. Attend Indian Cultural Events
Keep an eye out for Indian cultural events happening in your area and take your kids to experience them. Whether it's a dance performance, music concert, or art exhibition, these events provide a glimpse into the vibrant and diverse Indian culture. Local theatres will often host cultural performances, so be sure to follow your local performing arts centers. Your children will get to see traditional Indian dances, listen to Indian music, and appreciate the beauty of Indian art forms. Desi Connect USA is a site that provides information on local activities in many states in the US. Indian Eagle Travel Beats also lists cultural events across the country. A general internet search for "Indian cultural events near me" should yield more geographically specific results for you as well.
5. Watch Indian Movies and TV Shows
Movie nights are a great way to introduce your kids to Indian cinema. Watch popular Bollywood movies or animated films based on Indian stories. You can also find Indian TV shows or cartoons that teach Indian values, traditions, and stories. This will not only entertain your children but also help them connect with Indian culture in a fun and engaging way and opens up opportunities for you to have conversations with your children about what messages are being taught and how your family applies them. Krish, Trish, and Baltiboy is an 8 episode animated series that explores the fight for India's independence and teaches kids about the history of India's struggle and several historical figures. Jajantaram Mamantaram is an Indian adaptation of Gulliver's Travels. Follow the link for a list of viewing options including Prime Video. Taar Zameen Par is a film about a young boy who discovers his academic struggles are due to dyslexia. This movie is in Hindi, so that creates a great opportunity to watch it with subtitles and practice learning or recognizing words in Hindi! It can be viewed on Netflix.
We know how important it is to nurture our Indian connections and heritage. We hope this list encourages and equips you to find activities and events that highlight India to share with your children. Indian Ties strives to help with this exact need by offering monthly, exciting mystery letters sent right to your mailbox. We bring India to you! If you are interested in signing your kids up for a subscription, you can expect each month to bring you an envelope filled with a 2 page color letter from our friend, Ravi, detailing which new city in India he is exploring. He shares facts, landmarks, monuments, and details about the area he is in and somehow he always finds himself in the middle of a mystery that he needs your kids' help to solve! There are clues, crafts, and postcards included in each onth's envelope.