Thanks to Education World for use of my Mrs. Waffenschmidt illustration.

Thanks to Education World for use of my Mrs. Waffenschmidt illustration.
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Sunday, November 8, 2015


This year , 2016, Diwali, or Deepavali, begins on October 30th and lasts for 5 days.

Deepavali means "festival of lights”. It's a happy time of year and is the biggest holiday in the country of India.  Practiced mainly by people of the Hindu faith, many other people enjoy taking part in the festive holiday season,too. During the holiday, people pray, give gifts and light lamps(Dipa lamps). Special sweet treats including Laddus(sweet wheat balls with nuts and fruits inside) and Karanjis (flour fried dumplings with coconut and sugar) are eaten. Families and friends get together and fireworks are set off to help welcome the new year.
Fun Facts:
Diwali celebrates the end of the harvest season.

President Barack Obama was the first US president to participate in a Deepavali celebration in the White House, in 2009.

Shubh Deepavali” means “Have an auspicious Diwali “and is a common greeting for this holiday time. 

Diwali marks the Hindu New Year. It is a national holiday in India.

Other countries which have Diwali celebrations include: Australia, Guyana, Trinidad, Nepal, Singapore, Japan, Thailand, Fiji,  Malaysia,Myanmar, Tobago, Surinam, Mauritius, Sri Lanka and there are celebrations in the United States. Use a world map and identify the location of these countries.

Extension Activities:
Make a Rangoli- Using colored rice flour and water, people decorate patterns on the ground outside their homes and place of worship. It's a way to honor the Hindu Goddess Lakshimi and hope the goddess feels welcome in their homes. Use colored markers and create a colorful Rangoli pattern  See some pictures:

Make a Dipa Lamp:
Usually made from clay, they are traditionally the size to hold in the palm of the hand. Make sure you make a small depression in the center to hold a votive candle.You can paint your lamp purple, yellow, blue or red and decorate with colorful sequins. Dipa lamps are lit and placed in the water. Legend says if the dipa lamp makes it across the water to the other side, a wish will be granted by the Hindu Goddess Lakshimi.

Have small groups of students review the country of India at this link:  Draw/color a picture of something that has to do with India(Taj Mahal, tigers, etc.) Write 5 facts learned about the country to share with the rest of the class.  Learn more about India at this link:

Read a folk story from India to the students such as “The Elephant and the Blind Men”. Have students write a summary of the story.

Additional Links:
Learn more about Diwali at these links:  Cartoon video on Diwali for kids

Learn about India with these resources:
1. India in Focus,is a web quest, with additional fun facts and extension activities. Did you know that it was ancient India which gave the world the idea of the zero? The game Chutes and Ladders comes from an Indian board game. More people speak English in India than in the United States? Students learn about the country of Skills include:reading for information and using research/computer skills.

2. Taj Mahal:Explore World Landmarks are great to introduce kids to some popular world landmarks around the world. With writing in the content area, the short activities can also be used in Language Arts classes, too! About one page of reading, discussion questions and extension activities. Grades 4 and up. 
3. Chess, yoga,the game Parcheesi and the place value -zero are just some of the gifts we have from India. Want to introduce your students to the country of India? This resources will be most helpful.Basic notes,mapskill activity, lots of extension activities and links to get your students engaged in learning about the country of India.

NOTE: Check out this reading passage resource on Diwali:

Note: Illustration