Diwali is the Hindu New Year and is also known as the Festival of Lights. This year the five day festival runs from 11-15 November.
Diwali is held in honour of Lakshmi – the Hindu Goddess of Wealth. Hindus believe that she can’t enter a house that is dark so every household burns special Diwali clay lamps called Diyas to light the way. Homes are cleaned to welcome the New Year and windows are opened so that Lakshmi can enter.
How is Diwali Celebrated?
Diwali is a very colourful holiday where presents are exchanged and people give sweets. Special food is shared and people wear new clothes and jewellery. People hold parties with family and friends and fireworks and fire crackers are set off to ward off evil spirits.
It is a celebration all about filling your home with light. Homes are decorated in bright reds, greens and yellows and people light a many candles as possible.
Diwali is also the festival of colour and the colour comes from Rangoli. Hindus decorate homes and temples by drawing special patterns and sacred symbols on the ground outside.
They hope that Lakshmi with see these beautiful, bright colourful patterns and visit their homes. Patterns are made from things like coloured rice, flower petals and coloured sand and the designs are meant to bring good luck.
Craft Ideas for Diwali
There are lots of things you can make with children to celebrate Diwali – here are a few of our favourites:
Tea-light Holders – decorate glass tea-light holders using paint, glitter or ceramic pens to create bright, beautiful patterns. If you do not have glass tea-light holders you could use clean jam jars or even glass baby food jars.
Salt Dough Diyas – use salt dough to make a Diya lamp. To make salt dough simply mix one cup of water, two cups of flour and 2 cups of salt and kneed into a dough. Take a ball of dough and shape into a diya, ensuring that it is big enough to hold a tealight. Bake for about 3 hours at 120oc. Once cooled, decorate with bright coloured paints, sequins and glitter.
Leave to dry then add your tealight candle and light. If you do not want to make salt dough, try using air-drying clay instead – shape into your Diya, leave to dry and then paint and decorate.
Make Rangoli – create your own Rangoli using bright colours and geometric shapes. You could make your pattern out of anything such as play dough, coloured rice, glitter, chalk, beans or lentils, coloured paper shapes. You can create your own design or if you are not feeling creative then there are lots of designs and stencils available online.
We hope you enjoy Diwali this year – let us know what you do to celebrate by posting your pictures on our Facebook or Twitter pages.
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