Happy Diwali!

Tomorrow is Diwali and here is another post about me trying to deal with being an atheist who lives in a predominantly Christian country trying to raise kids to have a sense of Hindu traditions. Today I went fossicking around the interwebs looking for information on celebrating Diwali with kids (yeah, it is the day before I clearly like to be prepared). I didn't have a clear idea of what I was looking for but rangoli colouring in pages, while nice, weren't quite it. Eventually I found I wonderful blog post from Devis with babies which was just what I was looking for. So, in the spirit of Insta-Culture Ways to Celebrate Diwali With Your Child* I'm going to list the things we do (and the things I plan to do from next year onwards).
  1. Lights! It's all about light, so we already light candles and leave the doors open for Lakshmi but next year I'll put up the Christmas lights (and, because I love having fairy lights up over summer they will probably stay up over Christmas and maybe until the end of daylight savings). I'd like to get some diyas, or make some with the kids too. I'm terrified of fireworks, and nervous of sparklers so I've bought a bunch of glow sticks so the kids get some 'light' to play with. Maybe in a few years they can play with sparklers (while I hide inside and don't watch).
  2. Sweets! Next after the lights in importance seems to be sweets, so I'll try making something sweet with the kids next year. I find any cake or biscuit based around almonds or other nuts to be appealing to my Desi inlaws so today I made almond and cranberry biscuits which have an almost burfi like middle, but are far more suited to my white-girl palate. I'll take them tomorrow when we go and visit my inlaws for dinner.
  3. Presents are important for kids and we explained Diwali to 4 year old Asher as 'Indian Christmas' which only works because we don't really let Jesus in to our Christmas celebrations, so he thinks of Christmas as 'the festive season' and not a religious event. Last year I got both kids a little present and this year I'll do the same.
  4. New clothes are a Diwali tradition too, and this year I didn't think to get new outfits but I'll try to remember next year (remind me!). Maybe the new clothes will come to be our traditional Diwali gift for the kids. I always wear traditional Indian outfits at Diwali, even though we just have dinner at home with family, and tomorrow is no exception - although I don't have a new outfit, which would be more appropriate.
  5. Decorating the house is another Diwali tradition and I didn't even think about it this year, but next year I might try a few Diwali crafts with the kids. Perhaps I'll hang up a Bandanwar (door hanging) or try doing a rangoli with the kids and I'll definitely go with the fairy lights.
  6. Games, particularly gambling games, are traditional at Diwali (because of the association with Lakshmi the goddess of wealth and abundance) and I'd like to remember to play boardgames, dice or cards with the kids at Diwali. Maybe when they get a bit older we can introduce a simple gambling game (like 'Queens' which is a game traditionally played by my mother's family, but I can't find any reference to it online).
Please feel free to remind me next year to get a bit organised a bit earlier! What traditions do you follow through the year? Are there any other non-Indians who celebrate Diwali?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Was checking some ideas to host Diwali Night!Gambling would be cool,but looking for something new :)