Part of raising kids who recognize and celebrate diversity is teaching them about faiths and celebrations from cultures different from their own. While most American kids know and celebrate seasonal holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving, fewer know about the South Asian celebration of Diwali. This is the most important holiday in India– as big as Christmas is to Americans. It is a time to celebrate light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance and good over evil. In 2021, Diwali falls on November 4.
Want to know more about Diwali and grab some activities you can do with your family to celebrate? We have curated a wealth of resources, both from City Mom Collective sites as well as from around the web. And if you want to get out in your community to learn more and celebrate the holiday, many cities have specific events for the whole family planned this year. Finding one for yours is just a Google search away.
Collectively Curated Resources
City Mom Collective is a network rich in diversity, and our sister sites have resources available to educate yourself on Diwali as well as ideas on how to celebrate the holiday.
Most kids love doing crafts, and hands-on activities are one of the best ways for them to learn about other cultures.
Diwali is a festival of lights. It gets it’s name from the clay lamps that are lit in a row outside of homes to symbolize the inner light that protects one from spiritual darkness. Kids will love making these easy salt dough diya lamps.
A kindeel is a lantern hung in front of homes during Diwali. They are colorful and festive, and kids will enjoy using their creativity to make one or more of these DIY lanterns to make your home more festive.
A colorful wreath is a fun way to brighten up any door and remind family and visitors of seasonal celebrations. This wreath is a fun and easy activity for kids to celebrate.
Reading is always one of the best ways to learn about other cultures and their celebrations. Fortunately, there are some really great children’s books about Diwali the whole family can read together.
Amma, Tell Me About Diwali by Bhakti Mathur: This picture book is wonderful for kids ages 2-8 and introduces the stories behind the various celebrations of this holiday.
Mom, Tell Me About Diwali by Amy Singh: This book is written for toddlers as an introduction to Diwali, with simple illustrations and explanations of the traditions surrounding the holiday.
The Story of Diwali: Rama and Sita by Jay Anika: Ideal for ages 3-7, this is a simple introduction to the epic story of Rama and Sita, a significant tale from Diwali.
The Diwali Gift by Shweta Chopra: Great for ages 6-8, this award-winning children’s book has cute illustrations and tells the story of three little monkeys who speculate about a gift received and in the process, explain the background of the celebration.
Food is central to any cultural celebration, and Diwali is no different. Traditionally, Indian foods associated specifically with this holiday are sweets. Check out these simple recipes you can try at home that are sure to be a hit, especially with sweet-toothed children.
Looking to celebrate with a traditional Indian meal but the thought of cooking it seems daunting, and you’re not sure your kids would eat it? Try some of these kid friendly Indian food recipes that are also really easy to make!
Since this holiday is all about the lights, who could resist these edible chocolate diya lamps?
In addition to making recipes at home, you can also celebrate Diwali by dining out at a local Indian or South Asian restaurant in the month of November. Supporting local businesses in your area is one of the best ways to honor communities and celebrate diversity.
For Diwali, the lighting of fireworks is interpreted as a way to ward off all evil spirits(darkness) as well as add to the festive mood. The Diwali night’s lights and fireworks represent a celebratory and symbolic farewell to darkness.
Learning about various cultures and their celebrations is a wonderful way to enrich your family life and teach kids acceptance and respect for people different from them. Even if you weren’t previously familiar with Diwali, this is a great time to learn more and add some activities and celebrations to your family’s calendar.