Diwali is coming!
There is a rumble in the air. A happy rumble.
The whole of India, and all the Indians living around the globe – all of them can feel it.
Parties are being planned! Outfits being decided! Houses are getting cleaned up and decked up! Kitchens are getting stocked up with goodies and groceries! Invites are being sent out on Family WhatsApp groups! Overseas courier charges are being looked up by the loving expat relatives! Last minute travel plans are being made! Shops are bustling with customers and the customers are giddy from shopping!
There is a joyful vibe in the air. Because everyone knows… Diwali is coming!! 😊
Normally any kind of festive celebration is done on that particular day or from a day or two before. But Diwali? Oh no! The wheels are set in motion waaaaay before the actual auspicious day! In fact, the whole month feels festive and special, doesn’t it!
Passing on the traditions to the next gen
We’ve enjoyed memorable Diwali celebrations during our childhood, and now hope to pass on the similar excitement and joy to our own children.
But it’s difficult, isn’t it?
Almost all of us millennials lived as a part of a joint family when we were kids. Or if not in a joint family, most of us stayed in the same country of our near and dear ones. So basically, we got to enjoy all the Diwali traditions and fun festivities in full glory. Right from the oh-so-lovely smell of rava (semolina) being roasted, wafting out from the kitchen, where grandmother is busy preparing ladoos; to getting a soothing oil massage from your mom early in the morning; from drawing colourful rangolis every day in front of the house, to preparing mud forts in the front yard.
But now, most of us live in nuclear families. Many of us are abroad, and away not only from our extended relatives such as cousins and grandparents, but even our own parents. In such a situation, it is slightly tricky passing on traditions to our kids. But you see, in such a situation, it is even MORE important to get the kids excited, involved, and informed about all the traditions, stories, and practices of Diwali! Coz otherwise, our kids will miss out on this beautiful spirit called Diwali; that we’ve all enjoyed so much during our childhood. And moreover, it will slowly ebb away as the years pass by.
So as a family of 3 (husband, 4-year-old daughter, and me) who has recently moved to Singapore, spending Diwali away from family for the first time ever ☹; we are trying to figure out how best to get our daughter pumped up about Diwali, and create some lovely memories in the process.
Here are 6 tips that we loved and think will come handy to get children excited about this wonderful time of the year!
1.Diwali story time!
India is a multi-cultural country, and there are so many intriguing and interesting mythological stories behind each of our festivals. In some parts of India, Diwali is celebrated in honour of Lord Ram returning to Ayodhya from his 14-year exile); while in some, the prominent story is that of Lord Krishna defeating Narakasur. Narrating these stories to kids early on gets them very excited and helps explain the core meaning of Diwali – victory of good over evil!
Moreover, there are fun traditions involved in the individual days of Diwali; such as, waking up before sunrise on Narak Chaturdashi, meeting siblings on Bhaubeej (Bhai dooj), etc., which when explained in advance, can get the kid’s excitement running.
2.Lending a helping hand
There is a lot of work that goes behind a successful Diwali celebration. Get your kids involved in these tasks – in their own little ways. Ask them to clean their room and make it “The cleanest they have ever made!”. Get them to help in decorating the house. Even a simple task of detangling an old garland can be so much fun when little ones are involved!
3.Little lads and lasses in the kitchen
Although not as expertly as our mothers, grandmothers, and aunts, try and make at least one Diwali delicacy; and ask the kids to help. It could be in rolling the laddoo balls, or cutting (with the other end of a spoon) the shankarpali dough into diamond shapes, or even as simple as pressing a raisin into each of the laddoos.
The work will probably take more time (and create a bigger mess) with those little meddling hands involved, but trust me – it will create lot of wonderful memories in the process! 😊
4.Art and Craft Time!
Diwali is a great time to get out the artistic side in our kids. There are rangolis to be drawn, diyas to be made from clay, diyas to be painted, lanterns and garlands to be made, and greeting cards to be coloured. And of course, if you are a little more enthusiastic a parent – forts to be made! Maybe not all, try one or two activities depending on the interests of your child. Either do it with them (if they feel more comfortable that way) or simply just give them all the creative liberty! I’m sure they will be super proud of their Diwali creations!
Diwali is all about spending time with our loved ones. And in case you and your kids are not in the same town as your relatives, spend time with friends! Host a simple yet fun Diwali party for your friends or your kid’s friends, and involve your little one in the planning of the entire do. Decorate the house with lights and lamps and rangolis and get them to wear traditional clothes of their choice so that they understand it’s something different – something special. Joining in some of the community celebrations or events in your area is also a great way to meet other celebrating families.
6.Sustainable (but fun) Rituals
Although as parents we wish to pass on the customs and traditions that we celebrated as kids, we all know that some of them need modification. Like bursting firecrackers. Although enjoyable, crackers cause tremendous harm to the environment and lead to a lot of sound and air pollution – not to mention trauma to the animals around. So teach the kids the joys of a peaceful Diwali, and empower them to say no to firecrackers!
Some rituals can be made more conscious and mindful, such as using upcycled material for home-made decorations, sharing Diwali sweets with the needy, and gifting potted plants instead of fancy gifts.
It’s tougher when you are away from your family – we tend to lack the motivation, energy, excitement, and time that our parents and grandparents had. But it is important to take that extra step! Ultimately, you want your child to get the same happiness during Diwali that you did as a kid. You want them to understand the importance and joys of family traditions, cultural beliefs, and basically, our roots. I hope some of these tips give you ideas as to how you can get your tiny tots more involved in the festivities and joys of Diwali!
So here’s wishing you and your family a fun-filled, memorable pre-Diwali prep, and a very happy, healthy, and prosperous Diwali!
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