Known as the festival of lights, Diwali is a much anticipated festival in India. Diwali is celebrated to mark the victory of Prince Rama – the hindu god Vishnu, who was born as a man – over the evil demon Raavan.
According to the epic story the Ramayana, Prince Rama was exiled for 14 years by his father. He went to live in a forest, but when his wife Sita was kidnapped by the demon king Raavan of Lanka, Rama and his allies went to war against and defeated Raavan. So, Diwali is the celebration of this triumph of good over evil.
Diwali is observed on the new moon night between mid-October and mid-November. It is celebrated for five days according to the Hindu calendar with each day being dedicated to a particular intention – the sacred cow, wealth etc. Diwali is celebrated by lighting oil lamps and placing them all over the house. New clothes are worn and gifts of sweets are exchanged. Fireworks are very important during Diwali and families will stock up on piles of fireworks to be burst over the five days. Houses will be decorated with oil lamps, paper lamps, lights and rangoli (a design made on the floor using colourful flour)
Diwali in the classroom
Diwali is sure to brighten any classroom. Here are some tips on celebrating Diwali with your little ones:
- Read out the story of Ramayana in class over five days.
- Draw a pattern (flower, sun etc) on the floor and get busy filling it in with coloured flour.
- Read Deepak's Diwali
- Craft tiny paper lanterns and hang it all over the class.
- Get small lamps and light them. You can use lights if you’re concerned about fire hazards.
- Read The Story of Divaali
- Read Indian stories - select from our range of over 65 Indian books, music and artwork here
- Enlist the help of parents to organize a Diwali party in class. You can encourage children to dress up in Indian clothes, or wear something with an Indian theme. Order Indian sweets and play some Hindi music in class!