Diwali for Kids
Diwali, the festival of joy, light, and happiness is celebrated by people of all ages and is the one holiday where young and old alike enjoy the feeling of togetherness, glamour, and endless enthusiasm for life, which is visible and felt in all corners of the world at this time. Diwali is celebrated by Hindus in India and all around the world and usually falls in October or November. It is the Hindu New Year and is often a three to five affair, which culminates on Diwali Day.
It is a real festive time, a truly exciting and colorful holiday. Homes are cleaned to welcome in the New Year. Windows are opened so that the Hindu goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, can enter freely. It is believed that she cannot enter a house that is not lit up, so every household burns special Diwali clay lamps (diyas) to light the way for the goddess, thus the reason why the holiday is also known as the Festival of Lights.
While this annual event has more implications for elders and grown ups, many of whom see this as a festival of wealth and prosperity, it does have a very special significance for children. As it is, for most festivals that come their way, children celebrate in their own manner. Nothing is more interesting to them than the festivals of Holi and Diwali.
As is appropriate, schools remain closed for at least one week during this time, which gives kids enough opportunity to involve themselves with various dimensions of the occasion. In fact, the preparation commences some time prior to Diwali. The festival marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year and hence, there is a custom of wearing new dresses among the young and the old. Children are seen to throng the various shopping plazas and markets with their parents, choosing colorful attires, shoes, and other accessories. That in itself is an exciting activity for young ones. Another important aspect of Diwali is the firecracker. Probably the most important part of Diwali, kids seem to plan this necessary purchase long in advance, often with their brothers, sisters, and friends.
On the day of Diwali, a lot of programs take place, during which kids participate wholeheartedly. People visit their relatives and friends to wish them well on the occasion of Diwali and exchange gifts. Sweets are an indispensable part of Diwali celebration. Feasts are arranged and gaily-dressed men, women, and children go to temples and fairs and visit friends and relatives. Diwali Melas are held all over India, and parties are held in many homes. Everybody adorns new and bright clothes, and women, especially, get dressed in the best of ornaments. Homes are thoroughly cleaned, rangolis are created, and windows are opened to welcome Lakshmi, goddess of wealth. Decorated Diyas, candles, and lamps are lit as a greeting to Lakshmi. Thousands of lamps are lit inside and outside every home on this wonderful day.
Young boys and girls take an active role in decorating their houses as well as in lighting up the decorative lamps. They can be seen running around with diyas and lamps from here and there. Wearing new clothes, they enjoy themselves by burning the firecrackers. Often, with their parents, or group of friends, little kids are seen in the streets as they watch illuminating fireworks, noisy crackers, and sky-penetrating rockets in ecstasy and wonder.
Nights are fun-filled too, with relatives or friends visiting their houses, usually culminating with a sumptuous Diwali spread. This is a time of where sweets are generously exchanged with neighbors and friends. Puffed rice and sugar candy are among the favorites. Kids often get token gifts from their elders with blessings for the occasion.
As a whole, Diwali is a festival as significant, as important, and as fun-filled for elders as it is for the younger generation. It goes without saying that children eagerly await the arrival of this festival of light with tremendous fervor and enthusiasm as it gives them a highly deserved break from the monotonous routine of life and allows them to be themselves.
Diwali can be compared with the Christmas. Just as the latter celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ with extreme passion and enthusiasm, the Hindus treat Diwali as a mark of the victory of the Good and defeat of the evil in the same spirit.
It could, hence, be a tempting proposition to compare one of the practices of Christmas with that of Diwali. It is about exchanging gifts. In Christmas, we often see that people exchange gifts in the form of dresses, household items and such other utility products with their relatives, friends and other near and dear ones. However, in the Diwali, exchange of gifts is mostly restricted to sweets and other dry fruits among the Hindus. Children are sometimes gifted dresses and other article, but it is not a regular practice, as yet.
Wouldn’t it be a nice gesture if Hindus, could engage in similar practices of providing their close ones with gifts and presents? Most important, is the process of gifting children. It is indeed a very endearing custom whereby love, affection, care, and concern for each other are beautifully reflected.
No doubt, festivals like Diwali are extremely favorite and popular among children, and if they now begin to get lots of gifts from their elders and relatives, they will really feel happy and pampered. The glitter and shine in the eyes of an innocent child is the most precious thing in this world.