Diwali, also known as Deepavali, is a vibrant festival celebrated by millions around the world, especially among those following the Hindu faith. In the UK, a significant Hindu community, with numbers over 800,000, observes this occasion. Within the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire, and Northamptonshire, where AFA Fostering operates, the Hindu population forms a vital part of our diverse cultural tapestry.
At its heart, Diwali symbolises the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil. It’s an opportunity to embrace wisdom, compassion, and the joy of life — values that are deeply resonant, especially for children in foster care. Here, we have put together some ideas for foster families to draw inspiration from to celebrate Diwali!
Activities for Foster Families
Engaging in family activities is a wonderful way to foster connection and understanding during the Diwali celebrations. Here are some ideas to inspire foster families:
Creating Rangoli Art: Diwali is the perfect time to explore the vibrant and intricate art of Rangoli. This traditional art form, characterised by its bright colours and detailed patterns, is a staple of Diwali celebrations. Families can embark on a creative journey by learning to create their own Rangoli designs at home.
DIY Diya (Lamp) Making: The lighting of diyas, or small lamps, is a significant ritual of Diwali, symbolising the triumph of light over darkness. Making these diyas can be a fun and engaging activity, especially for children.
Storytelling Sessions: Diwali is steeped in rich stories and legends, such as the tale of Lord Rama and his victorious return to Ayodhya. Storytelling sessions can be a captivating way for children and adults alike to learn about the history and significance of Diwali. These stories not only entertain but also impart valuable lessons and cultural insights.
Visiting a Local Temple: To experience the festivities and communal spirit of Diwali, visiting a local Hindu temple can be an enlightening experience. Temples across the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire, and Northamptonshire, as well as other parts of the UK, often host special events and activities during this time. This list of Hindu temples in the UK can provide information on what’s happening in your local area.
Crafting Diwali Greeting Cards: Encouraging children to craft their own Diwali greeting cards can be a wonderful way for them to express their creativity while learning about the festival. There are many resources available that offer ideas and instructions for making unique and heartfelt Diwali cards.
Traditional Diwali Foods and Recipes
Samosas: A popular savoury snack. Find recipes here
Gulab Jamun: A sweet, deep-fried delicacy. Recipe available here
Jalebi: These are sweet, crispy, and tangy. Learn to make Jalebi here
Aloo Tikki: A tasty potato snack. Recipe link: Aloo Tikki
Kheer: A sweet rice pudding. Simple recipe for children: Kheer for Kids
Diwali Music and Song
Bollywood Diwali Songs: Enjoy a playlist of festive Bollywood songs here: Diwali Bollywood Playlist
Traditional Bhajans: Experience the spiritual essence of Diwali with these bhajans: Diwali Bhajans
Children’s Diwali Songs: Songs specifically composed for children: Kids’ Diwali Songs
Instrumental Music: Instrumental tracks to set the Diwali mood: Diwali Instrumentals
Modern Diwali Tunes: A mix of contemporary and traditional music: Modern Diwali Music
Child-Friendly Diwali Films and TV Shows
“Sita Sings the Blues”: An animated take on the Ramayana. Details here: Sita Sings the Blues
“Hanuman”: An animated movie about Lord Hanuman. Find it here: Hanuman Movie
“Diwali” on CBeebies: A special episode for younger children: CBeebies Diwali
“The Prince of Light”: A movie on the life of Prince Rama: The Prince of Light
“Little Krishna”: A series about the adventures of Krishna: Little Krishna Series
Diwali Greetings and Vocabulary
“Happy Diwali!” is the most common greeting.
“Shubh Deepavali” means “Happy Diwali” in Hindi.
“Diya”: The small lamps lit during the festival.
“Rangoli”: Artistic designs made on the floor.
Local Diwali Events
The Benefits of Cultural Learning
Exploring Diwali and its traditions offers a valuable opportunity for foster children to learn about and appreciate different cultures. It helps in fostering inclusivity, broadening perspectives, and understanding the importance of diversity in our communities. Celebrating Diwali can be a joyful and enlightening experience for both foster parents and children, creating memories and lessons that last a lifetime.
We hope this guide inspires you to embrace the spirit of Diwali and share its joy and teachings with your foster family. Happy Diwali to all! 🪔✨