Diwali (Divali, Deepavali, Deepawali) is the Hindu Festival of Lights, it is one of the most important festivals in the Hindu calendar. Diwali is the Hindu festival welcoming Rama and Sita out of the forest and celebrating the Hindu New Year. Deepvali is the Sanskrit word meaning rows of lights. Some people light decorated candles, some decorated clay diva lamps, and other decorative lights and put them in their windows for the festival. Deepvali is now shortened to the more well-known Diwali.
Diwali is celebrated at the new moon towards the end of October or early November and lasts for two days. Diwali is celebrated in many different ways.
Diwali will start on Wednesday, the 11th of November 2015 and will continue for 5 days until Sunday, the 15th of November.
Diwali is celebrated in late Ashwin (September–October) and ends in early Kartika (October–November).
Activity Village – Shares lots of craft ideas for celebrating the festival.
Cbeebies – The Story of Diwali – The story of Rama and Sita (very simplified) is told as a type of shadow puppet story, very effective and older children would love trying to do something similar.
Diwali – This Diwali site from KidsGen has a comprehensive set of resources, really great for use in schools. It says: “Learn about the roots of the festival of Deepavali, the traditions, the pujas at this time, or just send Diwali greeting cards to your friends and families. You can also bring this Indian festival mood right in your desktop theme, by downloading one of the Ganesha or any other wallpaper for the occasion. You can also know about the five days of Deepawali celebrations, Dhanteras, or Bhai duj, and get some exquisite rangoli designs to decorate your homes with the best of rangoli patterns. Also, don’t forget to check out the mouth-watering vegetarian Diwali recipes.
Diwali for Kids – Even though this site was created for 2008, it gives an idea of what to expect on each day of the festival and offers recipes for each day.
There is a great video on YouTube, it was created by National Geographic in 2010 and gives a feeling of what it is like in India during the festival. This video brings up a really interesting comparison point between Christmas, bonfire night and Diwali, different cultures, different religions, but similar celebrations.
What is Diwali? – Kidzworld has a lovely child-friendly site with pretty Diwali images showing the traditional divas.
Rama and Sita Story -This is a full audio version of the story from the BBC.
Story of Rama and Sita – Exercise -TES iboard have a whiteboard exercise about the story.
Ramayana: Story of Diwali – This is a video of the story from Mocomi Kids – charmingly told by a child with an Indian accent.