A celebration is a happy time when people get together in honour of something special.

Different religions or countries each have their own celebrations or way of celebrating.

Diwali is a big festival in India.

It is celebrated some time in October or November after the harvest is finished and before the new crops are planted. Farmers thank the gods for good crops and pray for another good year. They pray to the goddess Lakshmi, who brings wealth.

The goddess Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth. You can see gold coins pouring from her right hand into a pile of coins in front of her.©iStock

The goddess Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth. You can see gold coins pouring from her right hand into a pile of coins in front of her.©iStock

Diwali is important to people of many beliefs so it is a festival that everyone in India enjoys. People believe the goddess Lakshmi cannot go into a house that is not lit up so they light lamps in their houses. So Diwali is known as a festival of lights.

Hands painted with henna designs. The paint is made from the root of of the henna plant.  ©iStock

Hands painted with henna designs. The paint is made from the root of of the henna plant.  ©iStock

Everyone decorates their home and gives each other sweets and gifts. People wear new clothes and special food is eaten. 

Some ladies have patterns painted on their hands. A paste made from the roots of a henna plant is painted on their hands in complicated patterns which last for a few days. 

There are also noisy and colourful fireworks. Diwali lasts for 3 to 5 days.

 

 

 

A rangoli pattern ©Getty Images

A rangoli pattern ©Getty Images

People make colourful patterns called Rangoli on the floor near the front door of their homes. The bright patterns welcome the goddess Lakshmi  and invite her to come into the house. The patterns are made using flour, rice grains and coloured chalk. The patterns include birds, flowers and fruits. Rangoli are about 60 cm square, but sometimes a whole floor is decorated.

During Diwali there are fairs held all over India. They are like markets and farmers sell their crops, and there are stalls selling sweet and spicy foods. There are jugglers, dancers, acrobats, snake charmers, puppet shows and fortune tellers. There are rides on ferris wheels and animals such as elephants and camels.

 

Make your own Rangoli and other crafts:

http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/diwali%20crafts.htm