Nirvana Day: Lotus Flower Craft

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Nirvana Day is a Mahayana Buddhist holiday commemorating the death of the Buddha. It is observed on February 8 or 15. Nirvana is the idyllic spiritual condition, the ultimate goal of a Buddhist. The day itself is spent in meditation, reflecting upon those who have more recently died, and special food preparations are made. Sometimes gifts of money or clothing are exchanged.

The lotus flower is a well-known symbol of Buddhism. Its growth from the mud to above the water’s surface represents the journey from darkness to light. To explain this concept to a child you could make this simple lotus flower using pipe cleaners. It makes a pretty decoration, or could be given away to family and friends. You could also add beads to the pipe cleaners, which is a great fine motor activity for little hands.

Materials:
Seven pipe cleaners of any color
Three green pipe cleaners
Beads (optional)

Instructions:
1. For the petals, twist six of the colored pipe cleaners into figure eights.
2. Arrange the figure eights into a circle and weave the remaining colored pipe cleaner through the center. Leave a bit of the end loose to attach to the stem.
3. Bend four of the petals upwards for the middle of the flower.
4. For the leaves, twist two of the green pipe cleaners into figure eights.
5. Bend the final green pipe cleaner in half and use it to hold together the leaves. Attach the stem to the petals.
6. If you are using beads, follow the same steps but add the beads to the petals while making figure eights.

Pipe cleaners are very forgiving so be creative and have fun!

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