At this time of year many religions of the world celebrate festivals of light. Light is portrayed as the avenger of darkness and the antithesis of evil. The symbolism of light over darkness relates to the purity, goodness and morality as positivity over negativity.
There is hope in the light at the end of the tunnel or light is thrown over problems in order to understand and resolve them. Light is seen as symbolising overcoming challenges and adversity by providing guidance, instruction and a way forward.
Christmas is just around the corner and many children will be attending Christingle services in the following few days. Oranges or satsumas will disappear from fruit bowls to be decorated with red tape, sweets and fruits surrounding a candle to represent Jesus Christ as the light in the world bringing hope to people living in darkness.
It is not only Christians that embrace and celebrate light at this time of year. The Hindu, Sikh and Jain community have recently observed their Diwali festival of light at the end of October to signify the victory of light over dark, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance and hope over despair.
The Jewish festival of Lights is known as Hanukkah will begin on the25 Kislev in the Hebrew calendar (24th December) and continue for eight days (ending 1st January). Jews commemorate the repair of the temple in Jerusalem following war with the Syrians and the rededication of it to God by lighting the lamp (Menorah) symbolising God’s presence. The initial lamp only had enough oil to be lit for a single day but it remained lit for eight days. Hanukkah means dedication and is celebrated by lighting one candle on the eight-stemmed candelabrum each day. Hanukkah symbolises how God looked after the Jewish people at this difficult time.
There are many parities and symbolisms that can be taken from the celebration of light from many different cultures and religions and applied to foster care. By no means am I suggesting foster carers are God like or above others but many of the children that come into care are looking for that ray of light, away to move forward, to embrace hope and look to fulfil their potential. Foster carers will be able to provide a source of light and there are many more people and families from a vast range of diverse cultures and backgrounds with varied beliefs and religions that can also step forward to become foster carers.
Fostering in general requires more foster carers to care for teenagers, sibling groups, children with religious backgrounds such as Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, and to be able to protect and promote children’s own heritages. Currently there are many children being cared for by foster carers from different religions and heritages to their own and while they strive to promote the best interests of the child it is commonly believed that these needs can be supported better by foster carers of a similar culture to the child.
For more information on the festivals of light and religious celebrations for the children in your care, please visit the links below.
Please remember as a foster carer you will be a source of light to the children you look after. Even if you don’t have any religious beliefs, the battle for light over dark exists everywhere, highlighted in popular modern day culture, for instance Star Wars portrays the constant struggle over the darkside.
Fostering has the potential to allow every child to shine.