Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Diwali


Diwali is the biggest holiday in India -- schools and businesses are basically closed for several weeks as families prepare for this joyous occasion. Diwali itself was on Sunday, November 3rd... but there are many smaller holidays leading up to Diwali, which is the marker of the Indian new year. Diwali is celebrated among India's various religions for various reasons, but it is universally recognized as the end of Lord Ram's exile to the forest, where he remained for 14 years. Diwali is known as the festival of lights, as the country celebrates Ram, his wife Sita, and his brother Lakshman, returning home to Ayodhya. In India, the holiday is celebrated with a great deal of festivity -- fireworks, sparklers, and many gatherings with lots of food and sweets.

In our family, we celebrated Diwali by making fresh sweets, spending time with family, and praying for a year of health, happiness and prosperity. We lit little candles, called diyas, all around the house -- leaving no corner in darkness. This is what signifies the triumph of good over evil, the victory of light over darkness. Indians also pray to Goddess Laxmi, the Goddess of wealth, for an upcoming year of prosperity. It is also said that Goddess Laxmi only visits homes that are brightly lit, and so the many diyas invite her in.


After feasting, we enjoyed sweet mithai and many gifts. Little J and L are so lucky to have been showered with gifts and best wishes from their loving grandparents!







I was also lucky enough to go to little J's preschool class to teach the kids about Diwali, share our culture's yummy samosas, and do an art project with the munchkins. We made diyas out of construction paper, decorated them with fun sticky jewels, and created little lights with glitter pens.






We also read this book about Diwali called Lighting a Lamp, which was perfectly age appropriate, with lovely pictures.



Happy Diwali! Wishing you all a joyous year filled with love, light, health & wealth. Thanks for reading!

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