Fall is such a busy time of year for our family and it is only going to get busier as we add one more birthday to the mix. Baby #4 is due in only one week! In between my favorite Indian festival of Navratri, my first borns birthday, Halloween and right before the Thanksgiving & Christmas holidays comes the Indian festival of lights, known as Diwali! This is an auspicious and very festive time of year for so many Indian’s celebrating all over the world. Diwali is often referred to as the “Indian Christmas”. This is a festival where families come together, homes are decorated, amazing meals are cooked, savory and sweet treats are made, gifts are exchanged and many regions of India also celebrate this as the transition into the new year.
Diwali is also known as Deepavali. The root to both words is “diwa” or “deep” which means light in a few of the many Indian languages such as Sanskrit, Hindi and Gujarati.
Although there are many stories which depict the symbolism and the meaning of Diwali; the main message among all of them is the celebration of good over evil, light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance. Homes are lit up with clay candles known as diya’s to ward off evil, and to symbolize the triumph of good over evil. Families decorate their homes with beautiful and unique Rangoli designs at the entrance of their homes to welcome their guests and all aspects of spirituality.
I will spare you all the information that is already out there but instead, I will share that my favorite part of Diwali is the 5 days of celebrations. Each of the five days has a unique significance and the best part is whether or not you are religious, there is so much that has to do with one’s own reflection, spirituality, and the process of purification as we reset for the coming year. I will save the topic of the 5 days of Diwali for another post since there is so much to share about it!
So while some of us (**ME, ME, ME***) were counting down to Navratri, the rest of us are already filling our calendars with Diwali parties and all the fun stuff that comes with that! One thing that has been important to me as a parent is really engaging my kids in the celebrations. Attending parties and pooja’s is one big part of it. But as a kid, I remember it being just one more event we HAD to dress up for. What I really remember about Diwali is making sweets with my mom, and pressing the patterns onto those soft, ghee filled Indian sweets. I remember waking up early for the five days of Diwali and stepping out barefoot into the crispy, fall mornings to clean our front door entrance to welcome Goddess Laxmi, known as Umro Pujan. After cleaning it with water, we would decorate it with red kanku (auspicious powder) & rice to welcome Laxmi Ma into our home every morning. This also served as a reminder to us that each time we exit and enter our homes to come in with clean, pure, positive thoughts and leave any bad thoughts outside. And of course going house-to-house visiting all my Mama’s, Mami’s, Masi’s, Cousins and other local relatives and friends was another fun highlight of my sweet childhood memories of Diwali.
As I raise my three young men, I am hoping to build with them memories which they can hold on to as they grow up as well. Last year for Diwali (toddler S was 3), when we hosted a Diwali party at our home, it was important for me to have the kids participate in the celebrations. I set up a fun craft for all of them to enjoy. At the time, my newly turned three year old and his friends had a blast decorating their very own diya’s with paint and glitter. This year, since I will have my hands full with a newborn, I created a few activities for him to enjoy doing that aren’t as messy but are just as engaging, memorable and most importantly they can be done independently if need be!
The other part of Diwali celebrations I always enjoyed is making our annual calls to all our family and friends. We literally spent the whole morning and day going through the phone list to catch up with family and friends near and far, old and new. My parents are so good about making that effort to reconnect with everyone every so often and especially during Diwali time. It has been something that is hard for me to do, especially in this phase of life with three young kids at home and barely any time to collect my own thoughts let alone talk to someone. But in an effort to stay connected and show Toddler S traditional ways of communication, we have made an effort to write Thank You cards or any cards/notes with the plan to put in the mailbox (Sadly, I have a whole stack of pretty ‘cards’ made by Toddler S that have never made it the post office, it’s the thought that counts, right?). One of the challenges of making these cards was that he was still learning how to draw/write. So his card consisted of beautiful scribbles which only mommy could probably appreciate and make sense of which means I had to come in and add finishing touches (read: practically make the rest of the card) to make it complete. Unfortunately, I too never was able to get around to that which led me to my idea of a Diwali Card Printable!
This being our first Diwali away from “home”, I thought it would be great for HIM (not me, I might just print these, shh!) to make some Diwali cards for his buddies who are not local anymore and for some of his new friends that he’s made here. With Diwali cards not being as readily available in stores to buy (and so impersonal and usually outrageously priced), I decided to get a little creative. With Toddler S loving to read and still learning how to write, this Diwali Card printable is a perfect way for him to utilize his new skills, use his creativity to personalize it while leveraging some pre-made components for him to complete it on his own. As with the Rangoli activity, the Make Your Own Diwali Card activity has a sample of a Diwali card that can be used as a reference for your child to independently make or they can create one on their very own.
As with all my printables so far, I truly hope your kids enjoy them and learn through this creative play. I put a lot of time, thought and energy into making these and it brings me SO much joy seeing them used! I would LOVE it if you shared your experiences and pictures of your little ones creating their childhood memories, better yet, send me a Diwali card :)!!!
For many of us, the holiday festivities and season is starting now! And as everyone around the globe gears up for all the festivities to come, I would like to wish all my readers and all of you who are constantly encouraging me (you know who you are) a very joyful start to the “holiday” season!
Oh – and stay tuned…I have one more fun Diwali activity coming soon!
Kids Diwali activity – Make your own Diwali card
Click the image below to download:
Check out our other Indian cultural activities for kids: