Focus on India

Wide Open World, Sunday, August 17

Series: Wide Open World

by Terri Taylor August 16, 2014

Each week this summer in WOW (Wide Open World), Tenth kids are focusing on a different country where one of our global partners works. Students are sent home with a sheet profiling our partner and his work and another sheet helping them connect to that country’s culture. We encourage families to pray specifically for the partner family of the week and to help their children further explore. This week we will highlight India. Children ages 4 through grade 6 are invited to join us in the Catacombs at 6:30 PM every Sunday throughout the summer as we explore what God is doing around the world.

Focus on India

What do shampoo, pajamas, and chess all have in common? You guessed it: they came from India! India is the country with the second highest population in the world. With so many people, it’s no wonder there’s no shortage of ideas. It has lots of languages too: there are 22 official ones recognized by the government, but altogether there are 456 different languages! 

They worship lots of gods and goddesses too. Three out of four people are Hindu and Hindus have 330 million gods. That’s so many gods that if you were able to say one name every second and didn’t take any breaks to eat or sleep or go to the bathroom, it would take 10 ½ years just to name them all! Of course, no one worships all of them; families or villages have their favorites to whom they pray.  They aren’t opposed to Jesus being a god–they’ll worship him too–but they would strenuously object to any claim that there is one true God, the maker of heaven and earth. The sad thing is that if you had 100 people from India in a room, only 14 of them would have ever met a Christian. 

What's it like to live in India?

What you eat, what you wear, what language you speak and what your house looks like all varies by where you live in India. That’s not surprising when you realize India has twenty eight states; many of which are bigger than whole countries. But not only do these things vary by state, there’s a big difference between cities with their shopping malls and computer experts and rural villages which may lack toilets and running water.

But perhaps more important than where you live is what caste you are born into. Castes originally had to do with what kind of job you did. There were priests, soldiers, merchants, and farmers–each was its own caste. Your caste determines your rank in society. The higher your caste the more privileges you have. More importantly, you can only marry or be friends with people of the same caste. Your whole extended family–aunts, uncles, grandparents–are all the same caste as you. You can’t change castes while you are alive, but because Hindus think that when a person dies, he is later reborn as someone else, they think that how you live in this life will determine what caste you will be born into next time. 

Food in India

Indians tend to eat several small meals through the day. Many begin the day with morning prayers followed by chai (a spicy tea) and a salty snack. Several hours later they have breakfast, perhaps a flatbread stuffed with potato and fried. School children might have a midmorning snack such as banana and tea and then at noon have a lunch brought from home in a metal container called a tiffin. Late afternoon brings tea and another snack–perhaps one bought from a street vendor.  Much later they have a dinner of rice and vegetable dishes and then perhaps warm milk before bed. You can find recipes for many India dishes on this website, but here's a simple one:

Kheer (Rice Pudding)

½ c rice 1 c sugar
4 c milk 1 t cardamon seeds
¼ c raisins ¼ c slivered almonds

Soak the rice in water for 30 minutes then drain. Bring milk to a boil in large pan; reduce heat and add rice and cardamon seeds. Simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours, stirring every 10 minutes, till mixture is thickened. Once it reaches pudding-like consistency, remove from heat and let cool for 25 minutes. Then add sugar, almonds and raisins. Serve hot or cold.

Craft

The Gonds are a tribal people living in Central India. Traditionally they painted their mud walls with colorful images. Look at some images of their art and see how they use bright colors and fill their pictures with squiggles and dots. Try copying their style by using a q tip to dot paint on paper. Or make a Gond inspired collage following the directions found here

Webquest

Take a virtual trip to India by watching the videos on My Passport to India. Day 8 tells about Hinduism. Look under the tab “Land of Faiths” to find answers to these questions:

  • Why do parents sometimes put black marks called bindi on their children’s foreheads?
  • What four religions started in India?
  • How do Hindu families celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights?