Deepavali is one of the most prominent and famous Hindu festivals of India, celebrated with great gusto and fervor. In Sanskrit, word ‘Deepavali’ means “a row of lights” so this festival is also known as the “Festival of Lights”. People of all religions enjoy this festival by making floor decorations, the vibrant Rangolis; door decorations, the Torans; lighting of clay lamps, the ‘Diyas‘; distributing sweets; exchanging gifts between friends and relatives and bursting firecrackers. This festival of lights transcends religion and is unanimously celebrated by Indians worldwide. The festival is celebrated with great fervour and joy as it marks the victory of good over evil, after the vanquishing of King Ravana of Lanka at the hands of Lord Rama and the return of the Suryavanshi King Lord Rama to his Ayodhya! Fables say that originally when Lord Rama had returned to Ayodhya, the people of Ayodhya had lit the entire state with lamps to welcome him after 14 years of exile. It was like a long-awaited end to a sad tale and the beginning of a new era of happiness and peace.
Here at White Lodge, cultural diversity is introduced to young children through the celebration of festivals and one such festival is Deepavali, the Indian Festival of Lights. Dressed in traditional costumes, the kurta pyjama, the dhoti, the ghagras, the lehengas, salwar kameez; our children were ready to partake in the festivities and the feasting.
One of the many activities lined up was to make Rangoli. Rangoli is a pattern created on the floor, using materials such as coloured rice, dry flour, coloured sand or flower petals, to welcome visitors and good fortune. The children worked in groups and created their own Rangoli patterns, the floor decorations.
At the food tasting station, the children were introduced to some spices used in traditional Indian food before being treated to some delicious Indian desserts and snacks like muruku, suji biscuit, barfi , laddoo. The children also enjoyed eating the tasty butter rice served on banana leaf together with pappadoms with their hands.
At the Diya decorating and Toran making stations the children had the opportunity to showcase their fine motor skills and creativity. Using glitter, sequins and stickers, the children decorated their own Diyas and Toran to take home. Watching them create beautiful art pieces and having fun in the process just evoked sheer joy on this special occasion.
There was a traditional thalli , a tray, to welcome all parents and children for the celebration as well as the dramatization of the Ramayan. The celebration ended with everyone participating in the traditional and folk dances from India, the dandiya, the garba and the Bhangra.
Here’s wishing everyone a Happy Deepavali!
Amar Jit Kaur