Whitmore prides itself on celebrating diversity and Bhreesha, Manya and Keshiha in 8HRB organised an exhibition of rangoli in the library to celebrate Diwali and to tell their other students about how they mark the Hindu festival.
Diwali takes place during the “dark half” fortnight of Ashvin, which falls in October or November. The word Diwali means row of lights. Divas, which are small oil lamps, are lit to welcome home Lord Ram who returned to the kingdom of Ayodhya with wife Sita and younger brother Lakshman after 14 years’ exile. The story of Rama is told in a long poem called The Ramayana.
Bhreesha, Manya and Keshiha set up the exhibition and enlisted the help of Mr Hirani and their classmates. Mrs Bharadawa is very proud of the girls in her class:
“They’re very reliable and enthusiastic and always ready to help the Whitmore community,” she said. “8HRB wanted to celebrate diversity and different backgrounds and my students decided to share rangoli designs with the school community to promote Diwali.”
“I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved in the space of two weeks,” said Manya. “I hope it’s worth the effort that people have put in into this exhibition. Many people don’t recognise what rangolis are and that they’re for Diwali.”
Rangoli are patterns made in coloured sand, flour, rice or chalk at the entrance of houses to welcome the goddess Lakshmi into the home. Lakshmi is worshipped on Lakshmi Pujan, the third day of Diwali, and she is invited into homes to bless them with good fortune, health and happiness.
Keshiha explains what makes a good rangoli design: “When you make a rangoli, the colours have to be bright and attractive and you have to use your imagination. The design can be anything you want it to be. We use all
the rainbow colours. We have rangolis for Diwali because it’s a way to show how we feel towards Diwali and it’s how we find it a very joyful time and we express our feelings towards it by using colourful sands and divas.”
Bhreesha explains why rangolis are made from sand: “It’s because Rama and Sita came back along the divas and they walked along a sand pathway as they were welcomed back to their place after they came from fighting demons. It’s a legend that’s been passed down through generations.”
Although rangoli are commonly made in sand, Manya had the idea to turn them into 3D representations and asked Art teacher Mr Ford if her class could make clay rangoli models. Her class produced some beautiful work, and her favourite piece was one that featured the Hindu god Ganesh. Instead of making patterns in sand, the art class indented intricate patterns into the clay.
“I really like Diwali because it’s a time for fun and to get together and the enjoy the festival,” says Keshiha.
Diwali is a family festival and Dilan (8HRB) explained how his family celebrates Diwali: “We light divas and put them outside our house to guide Rama and Sita back home and then the whole family goes to our grandparents’ house and my grandma cooks traditional meals—curries and sweets—and then we have fireworks.”
Prathees (8EJL) tells us why fireworks are important: “We have fireworks for colour and we wear new clothes, that’s traditional. We put rangoli in front of our house to welcome guests to our house so that they feel welcome and happy when they enter our house. We use special colourful powders to form special shapes and patterns and put them in front of our door.”
The whole school community supported 8HRB’s efforts to celebrate Diwali and many students and staff enjoyed the exhibition. Farzana (9CMS) had a special message for the class for Diwali: “You be blessed with good fortune, wealth, prosperity and happiness.”
“Diwali is a good way to spend time with your family and friends whilst celebrating a traditional event.” - Fizza (9CMS).
Thank you 8HRB for sharing Diwali with us!