The Children love Diwali – The Festival of Lights
Diwali or “Deepavali” is a five-day festival known as The Festival of Lights. The Festival of Lights marks new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil. In India, Diwali does not have a specific date. It is linked to the lunar calendar, meaning the date will vary each year. The holiday normally occurs during October or November. In 2022, Diwali was on October 24. In 2023, Diwali will fall on November 12. Even now, the Children at the orphanages are already anticipating the celebrations to come!
Diwali is a five-day celebration
The first day is called Dhanteras
Because it is a five-day festival, the activities change each day. Very similar to Sankranti (another popular festival in India), people deep clean their homes and cook. Additionally, some like to shop for gold. Folks believe that gold will bring good fortune to the home.
The second day is Chhoti Diwali or Kalichudas
On this day, people create Rangoli artwork. Rangolis are designs created by hand with powders made from lime stone, red ochre, dry rice flour, turmeric and colored sand. People typically drawn the designs on the floor or at the entrance of a home to bring good luck and prosperity. They will also put clay lights around the home. These lights remain lit throughout the festival.
Diwali is on day three
There is an abundance of delicious food and treats. On this day, the community will keep all their lights on and begin to light diyas. Diyas are small oil lamps that are lit to symbolize prosperity throughout the new year. At night, there will be fireworks and sparklers. This day is typically celebrated with family and friends.
Day four is known as Annakut or Padwa
Annakut is the first day of the new year. Everyone will continue to celebrate and be very grateful for what is right in front of them. There may be a gift exchange. Either way, the day is spent celebrating life and all that we are lucky to have.
The last and final day is Bhai Duj or Bhai Bheej
This day is a family day when brothers and sisters focus special attention on each other, when there is more than one child in the family. It is a day to bond with your siblings. Usually, the family enjoys a meal together.
Diwali is an anticipated holiday for children in the orphanages!
The children in the orphanages we support look forward to the Diwali Festival. Some children may travel back home to spend this holiday with their family. If they spend the holiday at the orphanage, they will celebrate by playing their favorite games, eating sweet treats, lighting diyas and watching fireworks. As mentioned earlier, Diwali is the celebration of good over evil (or light over dark) which is very important to these children. It is a holiday that is very close to their hearts.