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Celebrating Diwali at BestStart Oraha Road

08 Nov 2018

Celebrating Diwali at BestStart Oraha Road
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This week at BestStart Oraha Road, the teachers and tamariki have been learning about Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights. Diwali is associated with Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, and marks the beginning of the financial year in India. It is celebrated as the triumph of good over evil. During this time, brightly coloured Rangoli patterns are made on the ground near the entrance of homes to welcome guests and to encourage Lakshmi to enter, bringing good luck and prosperity in her wake.

For our Diwali celebrations, the children made their own Rangoli outside the entrances to the Explorers and Adventurers rooms using beautifully coloured powder dye and special stencils. The significance of the Rangoli was not lost as the children engaged with the powder, marvelling at how soft it was to touch and how wonderfully it spread across the playground, creating a beautiful welcoming rainbow. Their stained fingers and faces bore the signs of an enjoyable day!

The tamariki also had the opportunity to have Mehndi drawn on their hands. Mehndi is a traditional henna tattoo applied for special occasions. This was new to some of the children, and initially they were a little hesitant about it. Their minds were put at ease when Sunita very artfully applied the henna to some of the teacher’s hands. Those children who gave it a go were delighted at how the henna stained their hands and were eager to show their whanau.

The Adventurers and Explorers came together for a celebratory lunch which was served on a fine red and gold cloth with candles in decorated clay pots called Diyas. Sunita said an Indian blessing for us before the children ate. Over lunch, we discussed the meaning of Diwali and all the lovely traditions associated with it.

We are so lucky to live in such a diverse country as it allows children to engage in and celebrate the traditions of their own culture as well as the cultures of their peers. This contributes to their feelings of belonging, and their understanding of the multicultural communities they are part of.