Diwali Festival Overview
You will surely hear a lot about the Festival of Lights of India if you are traveling in Asia during the fall season. The Festival of Lights or commonly known as the Diwali Festival is considered as a very important Hindu holiday that’s celebrated throughout Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, as well as other places with large Hindu or Indian populations. This tradition dates back to the ancient Indian times and is both festive and jovial.
While Diwali is usually celebrated throughout India, it is actually more prevalent in bigger cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Rajasthan and Jaipur. Even though Diwali’s Jainism version is also celebrated on exactly same night of the Hindu Diwali celebration, the reasons why they are being celebrated are totally different.
What Is Diwali?
It is a very important Indian festival, which is also referred to as the biggest festivals in Asia during fall. Just like the Lunar New Year in February or January, the Diwali festival is also celebrated with new clothes, family gatherings, meals, and special treats. As a matter of fact, a lot of people consider the Diwali festival as a fresh start. During this day, Devotees make offerings to Ganesha and Lakshmi with hope for upcoming prosperity and wealth.
During the Diwali festival, fireworks shoot continuously, which creates a spectacle of chaos, noise, as well as delight in some areas. Cities also glow with colorful lanterns, lights, ghee lanterns and string lights. Oftentimes, these lights are left on overnight as a celebration of the triumph of light over ignorance and good over evil. The people believe that loud firecrackers can frighten evil spirits as well as unsuspecting tourists alike for few days before and after the Diwali festival.
The festival lasts for 5 days but some traditions still vary. One thing is for sure, preparations often begin well in advance and fireworks go on for a few days afterward. Usually, the peak of the festival is on the 3rd day, which is referred to as a kind of New Year’s Eve.
How Diwali is Celebrated
The Diwali festival is one of the most important and popular festivals in India. To an outsider, the Diwali festival also looks similar to New Year and Christmas combined. During this time, presents and purchased, houses are cleaned, fireworks are set off and fairy lights are hung up. In India, this is also the best time of the year where staff receive annual bonuses and families get to buy new clothes and stuffs. During this time, businesses in India also start the new fiscal year.
While people from any religion participate in this festival to some extent, the Diwali festival is primarily a Hindu holiday that remains as imperative as the Christians’ Christmas season.
Celebrating Diwali with Kids
Festival celebrations from around the world are great opportunities for spending time together, learning new things as a family, and an outlet for heightened creativity a well. As a matter of fact, the Diwali Festival is considered as the best festival to celebrate with your kids since it incorporates that things that kids love so much – crafts, sparklers, fireworks, fairy lights, presents, and many more.
The most important ingredients to a Diwali celebration include: Colorful rangoli designs, Diyas, Lights, a puja to offer Lakshmi, sparklers, fireworks, and of course, some delicious Indian cuisines with the latest tunes of Bollywood blasting overhead. Simply mix and match these things or do it all in order to create a memorable and fun family celebration during the Diwali festival. In this post, we have listed some ways on how to Celebrate the Diwali festival at home with your beloved family – especially your kids.
- Involve Your Kids in House Decoration
In India, usually for a few weeks before the Diwali celebration, the families tend to spend more time in cleaning their homes from top to bottom. The moment they have totally cleaned their house, they’re then ready to start some fun decorating their houses for the Diwali festival. The decorations for Diwali festival traditionally consisted of paper lanterns and oil lamps. But, nowadays, a lot of houses are covered in beautiful fairy light displays just as what we can often see in the United States for the Christmas celebration. Aside from the lights, a lot of people also still hang some kinds of paper lanterns in their homes.
- Make Some Colorful Rangoli with Your Children
Children love to create colorful rangoli designs at home during holiday celebrations. There are actually rangoli stencil sets that you can buy for your kids and they can be able to use it throughout the year for any celebration. Or, you can also use some chalks too.
If you like to try a more traditional method of making colorful rangolis, then you can simply draw a design that you want, filling each individual section of the ground with colored sand or powder. Or you can cheat and use rangoli stencil plates in order to help you with the outline.
For kids in elementary school age and up, you can make them draw their own beautiful rangoli patterns with the help of a paper with dots or a graph paper. You can also check out some guides or books online that can provide you with help and ideas on how to make more complex rangoli patterns. Your kids will surely be amazed if they can come up with a beautiful rangoli.
Aside from that, you can also try printing out or designing your own rangoli on a cardboard by simply adding glue to every section and then cover it with colored powder or sand so that the design of your rangoli will not be easily blown away by the wind.
- Let Your Kids Participate When CreatingDiyas
One of the major components of the Diwali festival centers around the light’s presence. As a matter of fact, it’s believed by a lot of people that the light is what welcomes Lakshmi into their homes. Before, it comes in paper lanterns or Indian Diya, which is an oil-based light. But nowadays, this comes in fairy lights or candles.
For fun activities during the entire celebration of Diwali festival, your children can actually make their own beautiful diyas using clay. They can then paint it or glitz it up using gem stone stickers or acryclics once they fully dry. And, if you are not into making your diyas from scratch, then you can buy some pre-made diyas so that your children can be able to beautifully decorate it at home with stickers, paints or glitters. This is surely an exciting activity for your kids! But, you should never forget to add your tea lights to give your diyas a finishing look. After decorating and lighting your diyas, you can then line your door entrace, windows, or anywhere you want these beautiful decorations to give light.
On the other hand, if decorating or making a diya is not your thing, then you can simply print out some diya coloring pages in order to keep your kids occupied and to let them enjoy the spirit of the Diwali festival.
- Read Books About Diwali
In order to give your little ones as well as other family members some more information on the Diwali festival and how it’s celebrated, you can read books about Diwali. Unluckily, it is not always easy to buy books at local libraries and even in big cities. This is why we suggest that you look for some books or eBooks online about the celebration of the Diwali festival and you can surely find some for different age levels.
- Make Some Indian Sweets with Your Little Ones
Certainly, no Indian festival or celebration is complete without delicious foods, most especially mouth-watering Indian sweets. In fact, one of the most known Indian sweets for the Diwali festival is ladoo. It’s basically a ball-shaped dessert made of wheat or chickpea flour and mixed with clarified butter (commonly known as ghee) and coconut or nuts. They’re said to be the favorite sweet of Ganesh and they are always present during God offerings.
A ladoo that’s very easy to make is the Coconut Ladoo. Your kids can even try doing it since it only has two ingredients and these are the condensed milk and coconut.
Another Indian sweet that kids really love is the Vermicelli Kheer. This dessert is actually noodles in a milky sauce added with nuts as well as fruits mixed in. This sweet is super delicious and you should never miss doing it with your kids this Diwali festival season.
- Let Your Kids Help Present OfferingstoLakshmi
Every Diwali festival for devout Hindus often include a puja or prayer, as well as offering to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. In order to welcome the Goddess, the devotees will clean their houses and decorate them with many lights and prepare sweet delicacies and treats for them as offerings.
In order to add the spiritual side to your offering, you can have your kids prepare an offering plate to Lakshmi with the items that you’ve worked for. Include some sweets, a diya, as well other important things that your children think she may enjoy.
We hope you enjoy these fun activities with your kids. Happy Diwali!