Holiday is declared on this festival. Presents are given and sumptuous cuisines are prepared and exchanged. New clothes and jewellery are worn. Parties are held and various games are played. Fireworks like rockets, snakes, bombs, Catherine wheel, flowerpots, coloured matches, etc are burst. What more could the kids ask for? But there is more to this festival than modern day celebrations.
Today, Diwali has become more of a social obligation, instead of religious one. Parents often find it challenging to convey the true meaning and create the right intent about the festival. There are some simple ways to make Diwali relevant, enjoyable and meaningful for children. Several story books and CDs are available in market to teach the children about this festival.
On the eve of Diwali children can make small mud houses known as Gharonda. Gharonda is a toy house made with bricks and plastered with mud and later painted with limestone. They are finally decorated with colours, flowers, bells, artwork, colourful paper frills and lighted. Idols of goddess Lakshmi and lord Ganesha are kept inside the Mud house . Rangoli is also created in front of the house and pooja is performed on the day of Diwali. In some states Gharonda making competitions are also organised so that our new generation stays in touch with this age old ritual. They should be taught about the legend behind this celebration which is to commemorate the homecoming of Lord Rama, his wife Sita and brother Laxmana after spending fourteen years in exile. The citizens of Ayodhya decorated the streets with lamps and mud houses (gharonda) in order to express their love and regard for their lord.
Diwali should also be a time to buy everything traditional for children. They can extend their help by decorating the home with strings of lights and diyas. The rangoli is traditional and auspicious and can be a wonderful bonding activity. Kids can use their creative ideas for making rangolis. This time should also be considered to spare a thought for the less fortunate. This is a good time to inculcate the habit of sharing among children.
On Diwali kids should be actively involved in pooja and then allowed to enjoy the day by bursting firecrackers, the favourite part of every kid. Supervision of children is a must while they light fireworks or indulge in pranks.
Some of them are:-
- Nylon, Georgette, silk, chiffon, garments should be avoided and cotton clothes should be preferred.
- Closed shoes should be worn as they protect the feet from a stray spark or from stepping on a recently lit cracker.
- A bucket of water and sand to douse any unlit crackers should be always kept ready.
- Only reputed brands of fireworks should be purchased.
- A safe distance should be maintained while lighting the crackers. Always place the cracker on the ground before attempting to light it.
- Keep a first aid kit handy in case of an emergency.