I love this time of year for so many reasons, one being Diwali, the festival of light and the victory of good over evil.
Some of my greatest childhood memories were during this time of year. I remember watching my grandma make delicious food at home, there was Chukri, Mathia, Chevdo, Ladvo and so many other Gujarati delights being cooked in our kitchen. I would always have the day off from School for Diwali. It was exciting going back to school with so many stories to share with my friends about our celebrations.
We spent Diwali and New Years Day with our family, making colourful rangoli patterns, coming together, celebrating, eating, laughing, and just appreciating one another.
Now that I am a mother, I take a deeper interest in why we celebrate the days we do in our culture. I want to explain it right to my daughters when they ask me questions about our culture. I want them to love Diwali and value our culture as much as I do.
Diwali is the celebration of good over evil. It’s a celebration following the end of prince Rama’s 14-year exile, returning after defeating the evil demon Ravana. We light diva’s (candles) at this time of year to symbolise the victory of light over darkness. Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists and Newar Buddhism.
The story is beautiful and has so much more detail than what I have explained above, for one, we have a 5-day celebration for Diwali with many other traditions involved – I am no expert so the above is all I can tell you from what I have come to learn and understand. Please find below some books I would recommend for children to gain a better understand of the festival. My toddler really enjoys reading these books and is hooked to the story of Rama and Sita, she even tells me she wants to be like Sita which is sweet.
Both books in the image above can be found on Amazon, one is about the traditions during Diwali festivals and the other is the story behind why we celebrate Diwali.
There is also a lovely collection of books by a company called The Jai Jai’s who make beautiful children’s book, explaining the history of our culture and festivities in the loveliest way to young kids. I will be honest, I haven’t had the opportunity to purchase a book from them yet, but I have read the one’s which my family members have, and they are wonderful for children, with lovely pictures and simple but clear explanations – I will definitely be ordering a few.
Our culture is full of so many beautiful stories, colours, delicious food, and fascinating traditions. I feel so proud to be born into such a beautiful culture and there is so much more to learn which I am excited to do with my two daughters.
Below are a few activities I did for Diwali with my toddler, it’s a great time to get creative.
Wishing you all a Happy Diwali and a prosperous New Year from @mum_without_instructions.