Diwali - the festival of light

In short...

Age 9 - 11. Themes: Hinduism; celebrating world religions, New Year and Diwali.

Summary: Diwali is a five-day festival celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains. The festival celebrates new beginnings and the Hindu New Year. It is usually celebrated in October or November - the exact date is determined by the Hindu lunar calendar. It is closely associated with the story of Rama and Sita.

The video

KS2. A family prepares to celebrate Diwali.

Two children show how their family prepares for Diwali in their home and in their community. They explain what the festival means and share Hindu traditions.

There is a reference to Rama and Sita. There is a Rama and Sita assembly framework for Key Stage 1 on the website and also a longer animated version of the story suitable for Key Stage 2 on our Videos page.

Duration: 3' 41"

End of speech: '...Happy New Year!' + music and fireworks (fades)

  • What is Diwali? (The Hindu festival of light)
  • What story is remembered during Diwali? (The story of Rama and Sita)
  • How long are Rama and Sita away before they are able to return home? (14 years)
  • At what time of year is Diwali celebrated? (During the Autumn)
  • What do families do to prepare for Diwali? (Clean their homes, wear new clothes and exchange gifts)
  • How do Hindus invite Lakshmi into their homes? (They make Rangoli patterns and light candles)

Key links

Assembly framework (pdf)
document
Slideshow: diva lights
image

Suggested framework

1. Entry music
As the children enter select from a range of music hinting at the theme of the assembly - eg 'Celebration' (Kool and the Gang) or 'Firework' (Katie Perry). It may be helpful to display the following words to share and define, either before or after the video: 'Diwali', 'Rama and Sita' and 'rangoli'.

2. Introduction
Play relevant sections of your chosen song/s and ask the children what they think the lyrics could suggest about the Hindu festival of Diwali. Display the gallery of diva lights and ask the children what they notice about each of the images.

3. The video
Play the video. The duration is 3' 41". The video can be paused to allow discussion of the questions below - or leave the discussion until after watching the video.

4. After the video
Ask children to tell the person next to them two things they can remember from the video.

5. Discussion
These questions can be shared to ensure that children have retained the relevant information about the clip:

  • 0' 06" - What is Diwali? (The Hindu festival of light).
  • 0' 33" - What is the name of the story that Hindus remember at Diwali? (Rama and Sita).
  • 1' 00" - What do Hindu families do to prepare for the festival of Diwali? (Spring clean homes and exchange gifts).
  • 1' 45" - Who is Lakshmi? (The Hindu goddess of wealth).
  • 1' 52" - How do Hindus invite Lakshmi into their homes? (They make Rangoli patterns and light candles).

6. Opportunity to sing
An opportunity to sing your chosen song. Suggestions from BBC collections below.

7. Opportunity for reflection
The focus of the reflection is 'light' - linking to one of the themes of Diwali. Ask children to think carefully as you lead the reflection:
What makes you see the light..?
Sometimes we have to search for a light when life isn't great...
When you are searching for the light in your life, what helps you to see brightness..?
Are there any barriers to the light in your life..?
Are you the light for somebody in your life..?

8. Opportunity for prayer
These thoughts could also be turned in to a prayer, using your standard form of address ('Dear God', 'Lord Jesus', etc) and:
You tell me to walk in your light.
I hope that I can walk in your light and create my own light for others to see and feel.
Help me to be a bright beacon of light so that I can guide the way for others.
When I struggle to see your light, remind me where it is so that I can live a truly colourful, bright life.
Amen.

Suggested songs

SongCollectionSignificant words
Diwali's comeCome and Praise Beginning, no 59'Let's dance and sing / Diwali has come'
Flickering candles in the nightComplete Come and Praise, no 114'Flickering candles in the night / Darkness turning into light'