Diwali Exploration by Michelle Biwer
At my library we have recently started a quarterly cultural exploration series. These events are whole library affairs in which we partner with local organizations to educate and celebrate our diverse community.
Most recently I coordinated an exploration of Diwali, a Hindu holiday celebrated by Indians worldwide (also celebrated by those of the Sikh and Jain religions). The library partnered with a local Indian cultural organization to create fun and educational activities and performances as part of this event.
These are family friendly programs, but I always try to make sure the Discover and Explore events are created with teens and have fun things for them to do as well. For Diwali, one of my teen volunteers offered to sing in the traditional Carnatic sangeetham style of music-she did an amazing job! An amazing teen Bollywood dance crew performed and was a big hit for all ages. Teen volunteers also staffed the event.
Mandala designs: We printed mandala designs on paper and patrons decorated them with colored powder in the traditional rangoli art style.
Make your own Diya: Diwali is the “festival of lights.” Lighting traditional earthen diyas (candles) is a way families celebrate. Houses are also decorated with candles and colorful lights, often with huge firework displays.
Calligraphy/Diwali Bookmarks: Volunteers wrote patrons’ names in Hindi on a Diwali bookmark.
Free Henna (this was very popular with teens)
Try on a Saree!
Caption: I also wanted to try on a Saree!
We had over 200 people attend at least part of the event and are looking forward to a Chinese New Year celebration in February!
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About Robin Willis
After working in middle school libraries for over 20 years, Robin Willis now works in a public library system in Maryland.
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