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Gail Skroback Hennessey taught for over 33 years, teaching sixth grade in all but two years. She earned a BA in early secondary education with a concentration in social studies and an MST in social...
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Happy Diwali!

This year, Diwali or Deepavali, begins on October 30th and lasts for 5 days.

It's a happy time of year and is the biggest holiday in the country of India. Practiced mainly by people of the Hindu faith, many other people enjoy taking part in the festive holiday season, too. During the holiday, there will be gift giving, lighting lamps (Dipa lamps), special sweet treats including Laddus (sweet wheat balls with nuts and fruits inside) and Karanjis (flour fried dumplings with coconut and sugar), praying, getting together with family and friends, and fireworks to help welcome the new year. Deepavali means "festival of lights". President Barack Obama was the first president to participate in a Deepavali celebration in the White House, in 2009.

Learn more about Diwali here: www.kiddyhouse.com/Holidays/diwali/

Learn about India at these links:

Activities:

Make a Rangoli - Using colored rice flour and water, people decorate patterns on the ground outside their homes and place of worship. It's a way to honor the Hindu goddess Lakshmi and hope the goddess feels welcomed in their homes. Use colored markers and create a colorful Rangoli pattern. See some pictures here: http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/rangoli.htm

Make a Dipa Lamp:

Usually made from clay, they are traditionally the size to hold in the palm of the hand. Make sure you make a small depression in the center to hold a votive candle. You can paint your lamp purple, yellow, blue, or red and decorate with colorful sequins. Dipa lamps are lit and placed in the water. Legend says if the Dipa lamp makes it across the water to the other side, a wish will be granted by the Hindu goddess Lakshmi.

Other countries which have Diwali celebrations include: Australia, Guyana, Trinidad, Nepal (called Tihar), Singapore, Japan, Thailand (called Lam Kriyongh), and the United States.

Namaste!

Check out my reading passage (with fun facts and additional activities) on Diwali.

Gail
www.gailhennessey.com