Diwali religious festival, 26 October

21st October 2011 at 01:00
Sparks fly with Diwali

This five-day festival is celebrated around the world by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. Held between mid-October and mid-November, depending on the cycle of the moon, each religion's traditions differ slightly. The most exciting aspect for children is setting off fireworks. Introduce little ones to the festival with a colourful Powerpoint resource shared by Carly Trillow.

What does each day symbolise to Hindus?

1 A return to "fruitfulness" on the earth. The cow and calf are worshipped.

2 An auspicious day for buying gold on the birthday of the god Dhanvantari.

3 The demon Narakasura is killed by Krishna. Lamps are lit, fireworks let off.

4 The wealth goddess Lakshmi and the God of auspicious beginnings, Ganesh.

5 Krishna saving his kinsmen from a flood. Men give gifts to their wives and special food is eaten.

The TES resources team has shared some ideas on how to prepare special Diwali food with primary pupils.

Who celebrates it?

Outside India, it is widely marked in western Europe and was first celebrated in the White House in 2003. Barack Obama became the first president to attend a Diwali festival, in 2009. In Australia it is celebrated as a mainstream festival in Melbourne to showcase Indian art, culture, and style. Teach children to celebrate global citizenship with resources from Oxfam.

What do we do in Britain?

In the UK, Hindus and Sikhs celebrate Diwali with great enthusiasm. People clean and decorate their homes with candles, give each other sweets and contact family in India. Leicester hosts some of the biggest celebrations outside India, and in the East End of London there is sometimes a joint, cross-cultural Diwali-Bonfire Night celebration when dates coincide. For Leicester's events, see www.leicester.gov.ukdiwali

What else?

In the forums

Teachers discuss their ideas for covering key religious festivals and provide advice on issues they've experienced

All links and forums are at www.tes.co.ukresources006.


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