I've just spent the morning with my daughter's reception class and my son's pre-school class experiencing Diwali with 35 children - it was loud, chaotic, messy and great fun - just like all my experiences of Diwali!
I should probably explain, although I don't really look it, I am half Indian. My Dad is a Sikh and although he was born in England my Grandparents moved to London from the Punjab (which was then part of India, although now is part of Pakistan) in the 1940s during Partition.
I love all things Indian and it plays a big part in our lives, especially as we now live in Gloucestershire which is an area that doesn't have a lot of the culture locally, so we have to make sure that our children experience it at home.
So for Diwali, we have all the candles in the house lit, we decorate the patio with rangoli patterns (although yesterday was a bit too wet, so we'll have to do it tonight after school) and we eat traditional Indian sweets (a real luxury as they are so rich normally we don't have them - or none of us would be able to move for a week!)
|Rangoli patterns are usually made from coloured rice flour|
|Diwali is the festival of light to welcome home Rama & Sita from the Forest|
|Gulab Jamun Sweets|
So today I took into School some of these delicious Gulab Jamun sweets, bought specially at the weekend, they are sinfully rich, but so yummy - most of the children were happy to try them although not all of them liked them, but my two had second helpings (of course!)
The activities that their lovely teacher came up with included making clay pots, called Divas which hold the candles, traditionally lit to welcome Rama & Sita back from the Forest. These were made from air drying clay, which was rolled into sausage shapes and then curled round in a spiral to form the base, then another sausage shape was curled round to form the walls. Lastly some sparkly sequins and blingy hearts were added to decorate the pots.
They coloured in colourful hands to depict the mendhi patterns drawn onto ladies hands with henna and the made rangoli patterns on the playground with coloured powder paint. The hands were made from coloured paper which the teacher had cut out and then they copied (ish!) some tradition mendhi patterns using felt pens.
The kids LOVED it! I'm so pleased to have been able to be a part of their day and really pleased to be able to share some of my heritage with a group of children who otherwise probably wouldn't have any connection to this festival.