Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Diwali Day


Today is Diwali Day – the start of the Hindu New Year, and their ‘festival of light’. Here in Leicester we host the biggest Diwali celebrations outside India, with huge firework displays and lights.DSCF2550

The children enjoy the gifts and cards [especially the sweets] They light diwa lamps, and decorate their hands with Mehndi patterns.


They retell the story of Rama and Sita, and they draw Rangoli patterns at the entrance to their homes, for the goddess Lakshmi.



Everything is so bright and colourful. I hope that my Hindu friends enjoy their special celebrations today.

And I also send good wishes to my friend Elizabeth who is a teacher in India.

[these are pictures of the display I prepared at school – did you spot the little terracotta diwas on the table?]


  1. Thanks for the wishes Angela, I have tried to comment a couple of times recently but my comment never appears!
    In South India although Dewali is still the festival of light they seem to concentrate more on sound. Hence all day today we have firecrackers going off all over town, made to sound like more by the echoing hills! It can be quite scary walking though town as people don't watch too carefully where they are aiming the firecracker.
    Your school displays are great and very informative.

  2. We've learnt all about Divali in my class! The children love the story of Rama and Sita, especially the 10 headed demon Ravanna.

    I bet the celebrations are something to behold!

    Sft x

  3. thank you for reminding me, as my dear surrogate daughter celebrates this. I need to call her........

    Gill in Canada

  4. Oh I remember the hassle when my children were at school. As the school didn't follow any Christian traditions, I use to object and keep my son home from school any time they tried to make him celebrate any other 'days of faith'. I would see the displays for Ramadam or Divali or displays about other faiths in the foyer, turn on my heels and take him home. Only one way, one truth and one light in this house. Froogs

  5. Elizabeth - SO lovely to hear from you in India. Hoping it is not too noisy at night when you are trying to sleep.
    Froogs - I appreciate your dilemma. Here in Leicester we have so many children from so many different faith groups - so Ramadan, Succot, Diwali, Easter- we have to acknowledge them ALL. I believe it is therefore vital for parents to ensure that teaching about the faith comes primarily from the home and family environment. I too believe passionately in John 14;6, but professionally I am not allowed to practise overt evangelism!

  6. A sensitive display to help young children understand something about one aspect of a different culture and faith tradition. Rowan Williams also has an interesting, but less picturesque, article about Diwali on his website.


  7. Frugal Queen - I've had the same issue, though I don't mind them learning about other faiths as an educational exercise, but I do object to my children 'celebrating' other faiths as a Christian. So I just pop in and have a word with the teacher - no greeting cards, no ceremonies, no crafting of objects of worship (no idols in our home!). There has been a bit of misunderstanding about what exactly I mean, but on the whole the teachers are very understanding.

    To be honest I think that really it would be better if all faiths were taught as the basic facts, even Christianity. I've had to untangle some bizarre teaching about the meaning of Christianity at school.

    Angela I agree, faith should be taught at home and at church. It's so important we don't rely on teachers for this.

  8. It was 2 of my grandchildren's Halloween Day activities in Scotland yesterday. My grandaughter went to Nursery in her purple fairy dress and her elder brother took his pirate outfit to change into at school but hates dressing up and acting so wasn't very happy. Earlier in the week it was Divali Day in the Midlands so my younger daughter had to sign a form giving permission for her small son to have Mehndi painted on his hands. On one of the Christian blogs I read, someone was getting very worked up about the evils of Divali but most American evangelicals seem to "celebrate" Halloween quite happily despite the pagan origins and overtones and the grossly wasteful expense. We never knowingly allowed our children to take part in Halloween events either at school or in their uniformed organisations but I certainly don't have a problem about my grandchildren learning about the beliefs and practises of other Faiths as the Baptist missionary William Carey did when he went to India in 1793.


  9. Thanks for your comment APJ - I struggle with the fact that my USA friends see no problems with children PARTICIPATING in Hallowe'en events, which I regard as far more evil than LEARNING about the faiths of their classmates. And yes, I think William Carey was right - and religious tolerance is a key Baptist principle!


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