We celebrated Independence Day (August 15th) with the kids, and learned a few things about India from all their presentations, skits, and posters.
• That funny 3-headed lion creature that we find on some of our rupee coins is the national emblem. It is actually four lions standing back to back – symbolizing power, courage, pride, and confidence. The base they are standing on has an elephant, a horse, a bull, and another lion.
• The national flower is the lotus – exemplifying the fountainhead of life and creative inspiration.
• The national fruit is the mango, and there are over 100 varieties in India!
• The national tree is the banyan (ooh, I do love those!).
• The national animal is, of course, the tiger.
• The national bird is the peacock.
• On the national flag, the saffron color represents courage and sacrifice; white – truth, peace and purity; and green – prosperity.
• The navy blue symbol in the middle is like a wheel, and is call the Ashok Chakra. It represents the Laws of Dharma (righteousness), and has 24 evenly spaced spokes to represent 24 hours of the day. It also symbolizes the movement of time.
We heard poems and songs and speeches too. All this learnin’ reminds me that India truly is the exotic and colorful place that we always imagine, even after we know it in a more in-your-face, overwhelming kind of way.