Teaching Children About Diwali
Date: 10 Nov 2020
Our early years experts provide a few facts about Diwali for parents to share with their children.
Diwali is an Indian festival of lights that lasts five days, celebrating light over darkness and new beginnings. Whether you celebrate Diwali or not, the beauty of its customs and traditions can be appreciated by everyone. Read on for facts about this mesmerising festival that you can teach to your little one.
Facts for Younger Children
- Diwali originates from India but is celebrated by people all over the world.
- The exact dates of Diwali change each year. It depends on the position of the moon but usually happens between October and November. It marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year.
- The word ‘Diwali’ comes from the Sanskrit word ‘deepavali’. It means ‘row of lights’. This is why people decorate their home with lights and small oil lamps made from clay called ‘diyas’.
- Fireworks are often used to celebrate. Lighting up the sky in vibrant colours, fireworks are a vital part of Diwali celebrations.
More Facts for Older Children:
- Diwali is celebrated by a few religions. Most people know that it is a Hindu festival but it is also celebrated by Sikhs and Jains.
- Each religion celebrates something different during Diwali.
Many people honour Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. The lights are said to bring about prosperity in the New Year, as they help light Lakshmi’s way into the home.
Hindus celebrate the return of the deities Rama and Sita to the city of Ayodhya after being exiled for 14 years.
The goddess Kali is worshipped during Diwali by people in the region of Bengal. In Nepal, people celebrate the victory of Lord Krishna over the wicked king Narakasura.
- Many people visit their family and enjoy delicious feasts. Similar to many other celebrations, like Chinese New Year, Christmas, Eid and Thanksgiving, Diwali is a time for gathering and enjoying lots of delicious food! Indian sweets, called ‘mithai’, are a traditional favourite. They are made using a vegetable or nut base, condensed with sugar and milk.
- Outside India, the largest Diwali celebrations are held in Leicester. The ‘Golden Mile’ on Belgrave Road, in the heart of the city’s Asian community, has often been transformed into a colourful street party to mark the occasion.
- Rangoli, a type of art usually drawn on the floor in coloured powders, is a popular Diwali tradition. Materials used include coloured sand, or rice. Designs are often symmetrical patterns, using geometric or flower shapes.
For further information about Diwali, check out the resources below:
- Diwali – Encyclopedia Britannica
- National Geographic Kids Diwali article
- Diwali 2020 – CBBC Newsround
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