The theme of light triumphing over darkness is common in many religions. Hindus celebrate it in Diwali, the five-day Festival of Lights. Diwali kicks off the Hindu new year. It falls in the month of Kartika–late October to early November on the western calendar. In 2014, Diwali begins October 23. Here are free printable Diwali crafts, activities, games and recipes. Teachers, you might want to use these as social studies lessons to explore Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism and world holidays.
- Diwali honors the Hindu deities Lakshmi (goddess of wealth and prosperity) and Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed god. Prayers and incantations called “puja” are recited. Diwali Festival has free printable puja, crafts, coloring pages, recipes, greeting cards and other holiday-related activities.
- Also spelled Deepavali, the term comes from the Sanskrit meaning “garland of lights.” The holiday begins on the darkest night of the new moon. The faithful celebrate the victory of light, goodness, knowledge and hope over the “darkness” of evil, ignorance and despair. Oil lamps called “diyas” and fireworks are lit. Artists Helping Children offers a plethora of printable diya lamp patterns and Diwali crafts.
- The Diwali story centers on Prince Ram and his wife Sita who conquered the demon Ravana. Children can make Ram and Sita dolls using tutorials from Kids Gen. Be sure to scroll around this site for other free printable Diwali crafts, games, devotions and recipes.
- Rangoli decorations form a large part of Diwali. Rangoli is Indian mosaic folkart. Check this site for free printable rangoli and Diwali coloring pages. Don’t miss the lovely assortment of Hindu-themed coloring images. Explore all the sites for printable rangoli patterns.
- Hindus celebrate the new year by making and sharing mithai (sweets and treats). Here are Diwali mithai recipes from Tarladalal.
- The Hindu calendar differs from the western Gregorian calendar in that it’s lunisolar (based on moon and sun). Time and Date presents printable calendar lesson plansto help kids learn how time is marked around the world. There are calendar converters to help connect dates.
- Jains and Sikhs celebrate elements of a Diwali light festival. Here’s information onJainism and Sikhism and how they differ from Hinduism.
To wish a friend Happy Diwali, say “shubh Diwali!”