Deepawali – Diwali Notes from Swati

Deepawali or Diwali is certainly the biggest and the brightest of all Hindu festivals. It’s the festival of lights (deep = light and avali = a row i.e., a row of lights) that’s marked by four days of celebration, which literally illuminates the country with its brilliance, and dazzles all with its joy. This year Diwali falls on Sunday, October 30 , 2016. Each of the four days in the festival of Diwali is separated by a different tradition, but what remains true and constant is the celebration of life, its enjoyment and goodness.

The Significance of Lights & Firecrackers

All the simple rituals of Diwali have significance and a story to tell. The illumination of homes with lights and the skies with firecrackers is an expression of obeisance to the heavens for the attainment of health, wealth, knowledge, peace and prosperity. According to one belief, the sound of fire-crackers are an indication of the joy of the people living on earth, making the gods aware of their plentiful state. Still another possible reason has a more scientific basis: the fumes produced by the crackers kill a lot of insects and mosquitoes, found in plenty after the rain.
From Darkness Into Light…

In each legend, myth and story of Deepawali lies the significance of the victory of good over evil; and it is with each Deepawali and the lights that illuminate our homes and hearts, that this simple truth finds new reason and hope. From darkness unto light — the light that empowers us to commit ourselves to good deeds, that which brings us closer to divinity. During Diwali, lights illuminate every corner of India and the scent of incense sticks hangs in the air, mingled with the sounds of fire-crackers, joy, togetherness and hope. Diwali is celebrated around the globe. Outside India, it is more than a Hindu festival; it’s a celebration of South-Asian identities. If you are away from the sights and sounds of Diwali, light a diya, sit quietly, shut your eyes, withdraw the senses, concentrate on this supreme light and illuminate the soul.

Many activities can be done in the classroom Here are Some examples
Colored Sand Rangoli or simple Colorful chalk rangoli

You may be able to buy coloured rice for your rangoli projects. If not, coloured sand (available from craft stores) makes a good alternative. You can also die your own coloured salt, by simply mixing cheap table salt with food colouring and then spreading it out to dry.Coloured sand rangoli
A diya pattern drawn with coloured rice in picture
In traditional rangoli, the outline pattern is drawn on the floor and then filled in by carefully sprinkling coloured powders. Older children could try this technique directly on the ground with coloured sand or salt, having drawn their outline with chalk. Make sure they try this somewhere away from too much foot traffic, and easy to clean!

You will need:
• Chalk for drawing a grid or outline
• Newspaper to work on
• Coloured rice, salt or sand
• Large piece dark paper (black construction paper is ideal)
• PVA glue
• Optional – glitter
You may prefer to draw your outline on a piece of dark coloured paper and then fill in each section with white glue, sprinkling with sand or salt as you would with glitter. Do one colour at a time and shake the excess off onto a large piece of newspaper.
Children could use glitter in some areas of the design for contrast and emphasis. Students can also use simple round candles instead of battery candles.

Diwali Diyas Craft (candles)



Diwali Cards



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