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Celebrating Diwali

Its been a busy few weeks at Apple Trees so I would like to apologise that our blog has been somewhat quiet. However that doesn’t mean we haven’t been doing lots of fun and interesting things, for example we have celebrated the Hindu festival of Diwali.

Recognising Different Cultures.

At Apple Trees we recognise all cultures and throughout the year celebrate many different festivals from a variety of different faiths. Last month we had the pleasure of taking part in Diwali. The festival of light sees Hindu homes decorated with candles (diyas) and lights and people sharing gifts – but what is the celebration all about?

Why is Diwali celebrated by Hindus?

The five-day festival, which coincides with Hindu New Year, is seen to be one of the most significant in the Indian culture.

Many people celebrate the legend of Hindu God Rama and his wife Sita’s returning to their kingdom in northern India after being exiled following the defeat of demon king Ravanna.

The word itself means “series of lights” and during the festival houses and shops are decorated with candles and lights. This is meant to represent light over darkness and the Hindu belief that good will always triumph over evil, something I thoroughly believe in myself.

For many Indians, Diwali honours Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and people will start the new business year at Diwali and some will say prayers to the goddess for a prosperous year ahead.

What we did to celebrate.

The children were really interested to learn about Diwali through a lovely and colourful children’s story ‘Its Diwali’. We learned all about ‘diyas’ which are little candle holders and the children made some of their own as you can see from the pictures they look lovely!.

We also made some beautiful rangoli patterns on the patio at the entrance to our Ladybird room. Hindus do this to decorate their homes and welcome their guests over Diwali.

Another great activity we did was to draw around our hands on paper and then create some beautiful mehndi patterns. Mehndi is a form of body art from ancient India and is used as decoration on hands and arms over Diwali.

Finally we enjoyed some wonderful Indian sweets. These are eaten during the Diwali festival and come in a range of colours and flavours. We would like to thank Hiren, at Flamstead Village Store who kindly ordered the sweets for us and refused to let us pay for them but gave them to the children as a gift. Thank you so much Hiren, we really appreciate it and the children loved trying something new!! It’s very kind or you.

It is wonderful to be in a role where you can learn about different cultures yourself while educating the children in your care about how people celebrate different things. Its so important to teach children that our community is made up of many faiths and many cultures and that it is important to recognise them all.

Until next time,