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Kids learn about Hindu Heritage in Spring Break

Atlanta, GA -- Monday, April 12, 2004 -- More than 150 Hindu-American kids in the Greater Atlanta region spent their Spring break last week learning about their rich culture and heritage at the Hindu Heritage Camps organized by the Atlanta chapter of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS). The camps took place in the cities of Dunwoody, Marietta, Alpharetta and Norcross covering all the four major counties that comprise Greater Atlanta.

Blended with fun and enjoyment, the camps imparted knowledge about the Hindu culture, its traditions, customs and Samskaar (values) to the young Hindu-Americans. The day at the camps began with the assembly, introduction and orientation of the participants. This was followed with traditional exercises like Shareer Sanchalan, Paada Sanchala, Satat Yog, along with Yoga and Suryanamaskar. Through Cultural games and slogans, which were the next activity, various traditional and cultural values were imparted. For example, the significance of the Hindu greeting of Namaste that “I bow in front of the divinity in you” was explained with the help of one such game.

The afternoon began with a story-telling session on the life of Lord Krishna, peppered with a Krishna-bhajan specially composed for Hindu kids born and brought up in the west. Shlokas such as the Bhojan Mantra and the Saraswati Mantra that can be practiced by children before their meals and studies were taught. After lunch followed the arts session which involved coloring pictures of Raksha Bandhan and Maha-Shivratri. For the crafts, children learnt to make a beads’ Rakhi. Sarita Vaidya who sent her 7-year daughter to the Alpharetta camp said, “My daughter is eagerly waiting for Raksha Bandhan so that she can tie the Rakhi she made for her brother. All these years, Raksha Bandhan was not a significant event for her. The camp has changed that.”

The evening continued with the airing of an animated movie of the epic Ramayan followed by a quiz on the same and then concluded with a prayer. Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh is a registered non-profit organization in the US with more than 75 active chapters all over the country. In the Greater Atlanta region, HSS has 3 chapters for youth activities and Balagokulams for kids in the regions of Duluth, Norcross and Marietta. For more information visit www.hssworld.org or www.balagokulam.org

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