A festival with multigenerational storytelling at its heart.
The story of Diwali has been recounted by generations of Hindus across India and the world and its significance to each family varies and depends upon where you are from. What is consistent is the loving responsibility that elders feel to impart the meaning of the story of Diwali on their children and grandchildren and in doing so, help to inspire good virtues and values on the next generation.
Watch a beautiful story of Diwali below. It is done simply through animation and an endearing voiceover, including the themes of the triumph of good over evil, and why Diwali is often called the Festival of Lights.
The Story of Diwali, Credit: Mocomi Kids
Significance of Diwali
During one memorable Diwali in 2013, Co-Founder Anika’s daughter, Ariah and her Nani, put on a narrated performance about the meaning of Diwali for the family that concluded with this loving exchange:
Nani - So Ariah -- what have you learned from this storytelling?
Ariah - That promises are promises no matter how hard it is to keep. Love and respect each other. Families must stand by one another in times of need. Friendship and loyalty are special and must be valued. Learn to forgive people. We all have bad habits but must learn to control them or get rid of them.
Nani - Well done Ariah. We now know that Diwali is not just about sweets, new clothes and fireworks. Even to this day, bad things happen and we cannot control everything. But as your Nani it is my responsibility to help you understand and lead a good life so that someday you will do the same for your grandchildren who will continue to celebrate the true spirit of Diwali.
While each family has their own way of celebrating the festival depending upon where you are from, and the traditions your family adopted and carried forward; what is consistent is the storytelling amongst generations, the delicious food and sweets to be indulged in and the togetherness it inspires. Older generations recall their parents reciting the Ramayana (ancient Sanskrit epic) during Diwali evening and entire communities gathering to pray together and light fireworks together.
Diwali is also a time to have fun and indulge in playful togetherness. Our community member, Ruchi, reflects on a special Diwali when she spent time in India at the age of 8 or 9. “Every night leading up to Diwali after dinner my Nani would teach us to play Indian poker (teen patti) . We would use peanuts as money and pretty much every night there would be no electricity, so we would sit with candles everywhere, play cards and eat homemade Indian desserts. The night of Diwali was fireworks for what felt like hours!”
Getting the Family Together with Activities
After a year of uncertainty and with last year’s Diwali landing at the height of the pandemic most were forced to meet over Zoom and celebrate in more subdued ways, so this year many are looking forward to meeting with their extended families (albeit in tighter clusters), and inviting in blessings and good wishes for the new year.
With that in mind, we are excited to release our first downloadable activity book for Diwali, our
gift to you. Just print it out and learn more about how YOU celebrate Diwali with your family. Enjoy some relaxing colouring pages, reflect on Diwali with our questions activity, or make a traditional Diwali sweet with our super easy Burfi recipe. The activity book also includes a QR code to scan for limited access to our Diwali Question Pack in the Root & Seed conversation tool.
We’ve also partnered with two fabulous companies to help honour South Asian culture and give you access to toys, books and puzzles that make great gifts for the little ones for Diwali.
Bright Bandar makes learning languages fun with their collection of bilingual toys and books, in 7 South Asian languages. Use code ROOTANDSEED10 to get 10% off your next order.
Shop Little Ladoo's incredible collection of South Asian cultural toys, including a puzzle that features Diwali's hero, Hanuman. Use code ROOTANDSEEDLL15 and get 15% off your next order.
Do you have a special memory from Diwali or a tradition that your family holds for the festival? Please share in the comments below.