Diwali Story and Writing Prompts for Students— Diwali is a holiday that is celebrated not only in India but by Indians who live all around the world.
Perhaps what is most interesting about Diwali is that it is a special festival for all Indian people — whether they are Buddhists, Sikhs, or Hindus, or whether their family is from the northern, southern, or western portion of India.
Unlike many other holidays in the world, Diwali is not a one-day celebration. Rather, it is a five-day festival that is sometimes referred to as the Festival of Lights. Throughout every day of the festival, clay earthen lamps are lit in order to symbolize the fact that good overcomes evil.
The Diwali Story
One of the most unique aspect of Diwali is the fact that the Diwali story is different depending on the region in which the festival is being celebrated. Here are some of the most common interpretations of the Diwali story:
- In northern India, the Diwali story focuses on the celebration of King Rama’s defeat of Ravana. In this version of the story, King Rama returns to Ayodhya and lights the clay lamps in honor of his victory. Celebrants today still light clay lamps throughout the duration of the festival.
- In southern India, the Diwali story pays homage to Lord Krishna, and it celebrates the day that he defeated Narakasura.
- In western India, the main character in the Diwali story is Lord Vishnu. The people who live in this region of India believe that Diwali commemorates the day that Lord Vishnu banished King Bali to rule the underground world.
When teaching about the festival of Diwali, it’s important to remind students that the Diwali story may vary based on the person who is telling it and the culture of their region of India. It’s also worth noting that Diwali is one of the few holidays in the world that transcends region or religion, and is celebrated by Indians of all backgrounds.
When is Diwali Celebrated?
This festival typically takes place in the fall, either during the months of October or November. The dates for the actual festival vary from year to year, and the dates are based on the Hindu lunar calendar.
How Diwali is Celebrated
Diwali is a five-day festival, and different activities and events traditionally take place on each day. In general, this is how Diwali is celebrated on each day:
- Day 1: The first day of the Diwali festival is all about preparation. People usually spend this day cleaning their homes. They also may take time to shop for gold, as they believe that gold will bring them good luck throughout the entire year.
- Second Day: After their home is clean and the supplies have been purchased, people celebrating the holiday begin to decorate. They use clay lamps, called diyas, and light them throughout their homes. They also use colored sand to create designs on the floor.
- Day 3: The third day of the Diwali festival is the most significant day of the entire celebration. This is the day that families gather together. The celebration begins with a prayer for Lakshmi puja. After they have finished worshipping the Goddess Lakshmi, everyone enjoys a delicious meal and a colorful fireworks celebration.
- Day 4: On the fourth day, the first day of the new year is celebrated. This is typically a day marked with visits to family members and friends. People sometimes exchange gifts with each other on this day, as a way of sending their best Diwali wishes for the new year.
- Fifth Day: The final day of the celebration is all about connecting with family. On this day, brothers visit the homes of their married sisters. Their sisters always make an elaborate meal to honor their brothers.
As people around the world begin to celebrate the days of Diwali, you can use these writing prompts to help your students learn more about this festival!
5 Diwali Writing Prompts for Elementary School Students
- Imagine that you are invited to a Diwali celebration by your classmate. What do you think this celebration will be like? Is it similar to any holidays that you celebrate with your family?
- Write about three new things you learned about the Diwali story.
- During Diwali, Indian people wish for prosperity and good fortune in the new year. Write about a time when you experienced good luck.
- What gift would you share with a friend or family member during Diwali? Why?
- Diwali is an important celebration to Indian people. What is an important holiday for you and your family?
5 Middle School Writing Prompts for Diwali
- Write your own version of the Diwali story based on the regions of India that you have learned about.
- Write a fictional story about the Diwali festival that includes the following words: Fireworks, Lakshmi and New Year.
- Have you ever been to a Diwali celebration? If so, what was it like? If not, what do you imagine it would be like to be included?
- How is Diwali similar to the most important holiday that you celebrate with your own family? How is it different?
- Imagine that you are celebrating Diwali with your family. Write a letter inviting a friend to the festival.
5 Diwali Journal Prompts for High School Students
- Imagine that you are a high school student from India who has just moved to America. How would you celebrate Diwali in your new home?
- Have you noticed any Diwali celebrations in your local community? What are some things that you could do to raise awareness and increase inclusiveness in your hometown?
- Diwali is a festival that is full of symbols. One of the main symbols of this festival is light. What does light represent in your own life?
- Now that you have learned about Diwali, it’s time to plan your own celebration. Write about how you would celebrate each day of the festival.
- Fireworks and firecrackers play an integral role in the Diwali celebration. Write a descriptive paragraph about your most memorable fireworks show.
I hope you enjoyed these Diwali writing ideas for students. You could have your writers take this to the next level and write a Diwali essay.
Telling your students the Diwali story is a way to broaden their horizons and teach them more about holidays that may be celebrated around the world. By combining your lesson with Diwali journal prompts, you will allow your students to form their own connections with the Festival of Lights.
As your students continue to learn more about different cultures and the world around them, you should always encourage them to keep on writing!
More Links & Writing Resources
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Diwali Story Written for Kids
Here is an excerpt from an excellent Diwali resource —
Once upon a time there was a great warrior, Prince Rama, who had a beautiful wife named Sita.
There was also a terrible demon king, Ravana. He had twenty arms and ten heads, and was feared throughout the land. He wanted to make Sita his wife, and one day he kidnapped her and took her away in his chariot. Clever Sita left a trail of her jewellery for Rama to follow.
Rama followed the trail of glittering jewellery until he met the monkey king, Hanuman, who became his friend and agreed to help find Sita. Messages were sent to all the monkeys in the world, and through them to all the bears, who set out to find Sita.
After a very long search, Hanuman found Sita imprisoned on an island. Rama’s army of monkeys and bears couldn’t reach the island, so they began to build a bridge. Soon all the animals of the world, large and small, came to help. When the bridge was built, they rushed across it and fought a mighty battle.
When Rama killed the evil Ravana with a magic arrow, the whole world rejoiced. Rama and Sita began their long journey back to their land, and everybody lit oil lamps to guide them on their way and welcome them back.
Ever since, people light lamps at Diwali to remember that light triumphs over dark and good triumphs over evil.ActivityVillage