Every fall Hindus around the world celebrate Diwali. It’s a festival of lights, signifying the victory of good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. Traditionally Diwali is celebrated on the darkest new moon night of the Hindu month Kartika in the Bikram-Sambat calendar. This year that night falls on October 30th, and millions of people will be lighting up the darkness with lights on doorsteps and rooftops, in windows, and throughout their homes. Many of these lights will be coming from diyas, the clay oil lamps often used on such occasions.
After reading Let’s Celebrate Diwali! from Bharat Babies, we decided to try making our own preschool-friendly diyas to light during this year’s festival.
First, we mixed up a simple salt dough recipe:
- mix salt and flour in a large bowl
- gradually stir in water until it forms a dough
- knead until smooth
Starting with a small ball, we formed a well in the center big enough for a tea light. (We’re skipping the traditional oil… seemed a little ambitious for a 2 and 5 year old!)
We looked at pictures of traditional diyas and discussed what we noticed:
My 5 year old pointed to the colors and patterns. He also noticed the small point at the end of most diyas, so we tried to incorporate that into our sculptures.
We used these pictures as inspiration for our diya designs, working with colored sequins in the salt dough. Since the two year old was sleeping during most of this process, we kept a few diyas plain so she could help decorate with markers when she woke up.
We baked our creations at 250 for about 2 hours.
After cooling, we used markers to add some finishing touches and decorate the unadorned diyas. (The two year old also used this as an opportunity to color her hands. Again. Getting in the spirit of things with some Henna-inspired art maybe? Sigh.)
Finally, we dropped in the tealights for a test run.
I love how these turned out and can’t wait to see them light up our windows on Diwali!
Check out Bharat Babies to find Let’s Celebrate Diwali! and more children’s books about Indian culture!