A Cheat Sheet for School Diwali Presentations

Monday, October 27, 2008
Oh, crap. Tomorrow’s Diwali, and one of the teachers at your child’s school has asked you to do a presentation on the holiday for her class this week. Is she kidding? Does she think that just because you originally hail from the Indian subcontinent, and/or are a Hindu, you should know what Diwali is all about??

The little-known secret among many of us is that we really have no clue, do we. We want to hand down these cultural traditions, but truth be told, oftentimes we're just winging it. We don’t live in an entire country that does rangoli designs in front of their houses on the same day. One entire isle of Rite Aid doesn't get converted for Diwali. We don’t even have the option of doing a version of “Chrismukkah” -- December’s too far away for Christwali, and I’m not sensing a mass movement for Diwaloween.

This, Devis, is what DwB is here for. We’ve already covered ten ways to celebrate Diwali with your own kids, but how about introducing it to non-Indians? It’s important to enlighten your child’s classmates about Indian culture, right? Maybe then your kid won’t seem so “other” to them. Maybe a Diwali presentation is what will bridge the gap of understanding between cultures, so that your child will finally be accepted for who he/she is, become popular, get better grades, and eventually become the next president of the United States.

Or maybe you just don’t want to look bad in front of your kid’s teacher. Either way, here are some ideas we’ve gleaned from around the Web.

1. You’ll have to start with a 5-minute talk on “What is Diwali,” but don’t fret, there are people who know about this sort of thing and have done it for you. Try National Geographic’s new, panreligious explanation of Diwali, or LearnHub’s Diwali one-pager. Also, recruit the first generation! They usually know what they’re talking about. Ask your parents, uncles, or aunts to come with you and help out.

2. Have the kids make Diwali collages: Type “Diwali” into Flickr (or just click here) and print out some of the beautiful photos that appear. Add scissors, glue and paper, and you’re ready to go.

3. If the kids are older, have them make rangoli designs. Type “rangoli” into Google Images and print out some of the photos. The kids can recreate the designs with chalk on chalkboards or, if the school is willing, on the ground in an outside area.

4. If you’re more ambitious, try having them make diyas with self-hardening clay and paint. Both of these are available at kids’ toy stores. Or if you’re crafy, try this 15-minute, 5-ingredient recipe for a Diwali favorite, coconut barfi. (Check with your kid’s teacher to make sure this is copacetic to do, and leave out the nuts for allergies.)
Anu said...

i'm doing a diwali activity with my son's preschool class. i'm reading them the diwali book you mentioned in your original diwali post, and we're going to do the rangoli on a huge roll of black paper that is taped on the floor.

Anonymous said...

We actually lit a Diwali tree yesterday in the front of our home. But our child is still confused about why it's next to the pumpkins.
i'll have to invite the grandparents to our kids school

Anonymous said...

"Diwaloween"? I love it! You need to write a whole blog on that topic!

Sonali & Chetan said...

I love idea #2! I think I'll make oen tonight for my kiddos daycare class!

Buy Kamagra said...

This is perfect I think "Diwaloween" is amazing, I'm a teacher I had never made something like this, It would be perfect to do it all time in order to the students get fun.

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