What I Want to Teach My Kids About Diwali

Diwali, such a beautiful Indian festival. One filled with light, literally, love, prayer and family…and eating.
As generations go by, it may be that some traditions get changed,  some foods get updated, and things like decor and how we celebrate may evolve.  This is alright, so long as the basic premise and reason why we celebrate isn’t lost.
I want to teach my kids some important things about Diwali, as Hindus celebrate, and hope that a few of these traditions will carry on.
Lord RamThe Story of Ramayan
I grew up learning and loving the stories of Lord Rama. How he came to Earth, a reincarnation of Lord Vishnu, to one day battle evil that was taking place. His journey was one filled with trials and tribulations, but each feat teaches inner control, patience and respect for all things and people. It is a beautiful tale that is full of symbolism and teachings…of good conquers evil.
In one main part of the tale, Rama is sent to exile to live in the forest for 18years. The future King of Ayodhya obliges and is accompanied with his wife and brother as they set out on an epic adventure. It is said that there was a darkness that spread through Ayodhya during this exile. However, after the 18 years and a large battle between Ravan and Rama, where good defeats bad, Lord Ram returns and claims his throne. The entire kingdom is lit with lights and candles and there are celebrations beyond delight. In every corner they shone light to show the immense happiness that came. That marks the celebration of Diwali, the return of King Lord Rama and the end of darkness.
On Diwali diya and candles are lit everywhere to represent this celebration.
Lakshmi - Hindu goddessGoddess Lakshmi
Light is also representative of Goddess Lakshmi in the Hindu religion. Letting light in is inviting her in, she blesses the home with wealth and prosperity to those who welcome her and offer her prayer and love.
So on Diwali, we light our diyas and pray, pray for an auspicious year and to bless our families.
We also decorate our entrance with Rangoli. This is coloured rice in a pattern. They say those that adorn their entrance with colour and beauty and light are inviting Lakshmi into their lives.
The lights, the diyas, the sweets galore, the rangoli, and just being with family on this day…is what I want my kids to carry on. The basic premise, that’s all….how and why we decorate our home and being together in that day.
Rangoli Diwali
Photo courtesy of Askideas.com
The next day, after Diwali, is the new year. This is really to embark on the new goals you have set and let anything negative go, a restart…to be taken with positivity and happiness.
Diwali really, in the end, is about a happy feeling…spreading joy, believing that good things will come, and to feel love in and out.  That is truly what it symbolizes and has always meant to be the bottom takeaway. Even in all the stories…we celebrate because of goodness and love.
I hope and pray for this beautiful holiday to live on. It may look a little different from year to year, but some things, shouldn’t change too much.
As we prepare this year, I will keep in mind to tell my children the stories and hope they love its meaning and symbolism as much as I do.
Diwali diya
Photo courtesy of Indialine.com

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