Rituals and Traditions Group Guide

Volume II, Number III

Artwork by Gracie Gralike

KidSpirit writers explore the common elements among different cultures and their celebrations. Is it important to learn how others celebrate? What happens when our rituals change? Must we change, too?

1. In “Humility in Hinduism,” writer Gautama Mehta talks about growing up Hindu in America, and the pressure he feels to do well. He finds that after reading the Bhagavad Gita, his culture’s ideals clash with the teaching in this sacred text. What is your heritage? Do you follow the practices of your background or religion closely? Do you find it hard to fit those ideals into American culture? Has living in America changed the way you or your family practices its cultural heritage?

2. Matisyahu is a Chasidic Jewish reggae singer, who one KidSpirit reviewer calls the “soul of contradiction.” He combines Jamaican reggae music with orthodox Jewish teaching and rituals. Is he successful? Do you know other artists who combine elements of different cultures and traditions in their work? Do you find yourself combining traditions from different cultures into your everyday life?

3. In “Summers at the Cabin,” Allie McIntosh writes about a gathering that has slowly become one of her family’s most cherished traditions. Write about something you and your family do together regularly. Do you do the same thing on the weekends, visit the same places in the summer, or eat the same foods for the holidays? Why do you think this has become an important ritual for you and your family?

4. PerSpectives writer Eboo Patel talks about making yourself worthy of your own heritage. He describes how his grandmother influenced his work by setting an example of lived interfaith dialogue and service, and that this was the essence of being Muslim for him. What does it mean to make yourself worthy of the traditions you inherit? Do you strive for this? How?