Music, Rituals, and Children Education

Music, Rituals, and Children Education

Minoo Jan

Musical traditions and rituals provide us with comfort and help us deal with hardships more easily.

In the words of Joseph Campbell, an American author and editor whose works on comparative mythology examined the universal functions of myth in various human cultures namely to give form to human life, not in the way of a mere surface arrangement, but in-depth. 

In our today’s life, societies have not educated younger generations with enough meaningful group activities or rituals by which they feel more connected to their community. Re-thinking rituals and re-visiting ancient musical traditions, educators can enhance children’s sense of community and belonging. Performative rituals have the power to bring people together and create tangible and substantial connections between individuals. Designing educational workshops based on different rituals is a big first step toward discovering new ways to take action and revisit the ancient culture traditions and find innovative ways to transpose them to contemporary scenarios. 

For instance, rain-seeking rituals have been around in various cultures. Although rain-seeking rituals take on different forms in each part of the world, puppet making, chanting, and dancing remain the key parts of these rain prayers. As educators, we can integrate arts and indigenous ways of knowing through ancient rituals to inspire children of all ages and raising awareness about water scarcity/crisis. 

Bouke-varaneh tradition, practiced among the Kurdish community of Iran, Turkey, and Iraq. In Bouke-varaneh tradition, the community members create a doll with wooden spoon that associates with the goddess of fertility and rain. Bouke-varaneh in Kurdish means rain bride. Children carry te rain bride in the alleys of their village, while singing and chanting. In their singing they ask for rain, as they express their feelings about the difficulties of life. Then, all would go around taking plates and utensils from each house, cooking food, and eating together. They would return the plates, but not the wooden spoon with which they made the doll and only would return the spoon to its owner if it rained. 

Through these rituals, children learn to appreciate natural resources like water and understand the importance of taking a good care of their planet earth.