Diwali

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Diwali, one of the most important festivals in Indian culture, begins tomorrow.  This five-day “festival of lights”  celebrates new beginnings and the victory of good over evil.

Day 1:  (Dhun Teras)  People go shopping, clean their home, and decorate with fresh flowers.

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Day 2:  (Choti Diwali)  Homes are decorated with diyas (small oil lamps) and rangoli are created on the floor at the entrance to the home. The decorative patterns are made using colored rice, flour, powder or sand.  Sweets are prepared.  Recipes

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Gulab Jamun

Gulab Jamun

Day 3:  (Lakshmi Puja)  This is the main day of the festival.  Families gather for Lakshmi Puja – a prayer to Goddess Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth).  They pray to be blessed with good fortune for the upcoming year.  Offerings may include fruit, rice pudding, flowers, or other gifts.  Fireworks and a large feast end the night.

Day 4:  (Padwa)  This is the first day of the new year.  Friends and family visit with gifts and sweets.

Day 5:  (Bhai dooj)  This day celebrates the relationship between a brother and sister.  Siblings spend time together, pray, exchange gifts, and enjoy a meal.

Diwali is a national holiday in India, Trinidad & Tobago, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Guyana, Surinam, Singapore, Malaysia and Fiji.

ACTIVITIES:  Watch this National Geographic video about Diwali.  Check out these rangoli designs.

RANGOLI

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Print a rangoli pattern and decorate it using pastel crayons, colored rice, sand, or glitter salt.  Design a rangoli on the porch, driveway, or playground with colored chalk.

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