Diwali is a festival of lights and one of the major festivals celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. It usually lasts five days and is celebrated during the Hindu lunisolar month Kartika. The first day of Diwali this year was on Thursday 12th November. At Kenilworth we celebrate the diversity of all our differences; we feel that it is important to know how and why other cultures live and celebrate in so many different ways. In normal times, the festival would see families and friends gathering together to celebrate, however under the current restrictions families have had to adapt.
Two of our families have kindly given us an insight into their own Diwali celebrations. Additionally, Mr and Mrs Nandha kindly gave our Reception and Nursery children clay Diwali candles to paint.
“Diwali for us is full of colour, lights through divas (candles), food and prayers. We clean our homes to welcome the gods at the start of the festival, decorate it and light candles at the front door, near the kitchen sink and in our temple. Throughout the 5 days of Diwali we have 2 main prayers. To Hanuman, to keep all evil and negativity away from our lives and home and to Goddess Lakshmi to welcome abundance. Nikki and Milli both enjoy doing these prayers with us and slowly are learning about the meaning of Diwali.
As Gujarati’s the main day we celebrate is New Year’s Day which is the day after Diwali. We put our Indian outfits on, go to the temples and start our New Year with thanks from the previous year, for protection and happiness for the coming year. The decorations and annakut (food offerings to the deity’s) are so grand, they bring a special and spiritual atmosphere around the whole temple. Thereafter we’d usually meet with family and celebrate by giving gifts, normally money to the young ones in the family and have a lovely Indian meal together.
These are some of the decorations we have around the home, more so this year as we will miss the temples.” The Nandha family.