Bengalis, Durga Puja is the biggest festival of the year. The festival is a ten-day festival, of which the last five are the most important. The festival is famous for the elaborately artistic idols, the decorative pandals and extravagant festivities. The festival is also marked by performance arts, gift giving, family visits and feasts. According to mythology, the festival marks the victory of goddess Durga in her battle against the shape-shifting demon, Mahishasura. Durga Puja is celebrated as Navaratri and Dussehra celebrations in other regional traditions. On Dussehra, the Ram Lila dance-drama is enacted, celebrating the victory of Rama against Ravana, and effigies of Ravana are burnt.
Things you can do with your little one for this Durga Puja include storytelling, drawing and craft activities and theatre activities. Feel free to decrease or upgrade the complexity level of the suggested activities according to the age of your child.
Regardless of our religious faith and personal beliefs, the religions and mythologies of the world are important components of the history and culture of the world. Whether you want your child to follow your family traditions or you want them to be a nuanced and balanced global citizen, it is desirable to educate them about the festivals, lores and mythology.
Children particularly enjoy the small stories related to Durga, Durga's children (especially of Ganesha), Ram and Ravana, and stories of gods and goddesses with the central theme of victory of good over evil. Depending on the child's age and personality, the details of the battles can be toned down and language can be mellowed down to match their language. If you would like to brush up your own knowledge of Hindu mythological stories, a one-stop solution is getting a paperback (or kindle) version of Amar Chitra Katha stories, which even the children can read when they are a bit older. Some websites like this also have such stories.
Below is a picture of the stick puppet props I made to tell the story of Durga-Mahishasura and Ram-Ravana.
Drawing activities of this month can include simple drawing of Goddess Durga. Click here to download a coloring sheet of Goddess Durga's face.
Here is a colouring activity we did!
Make easy roller tube crafts to recreate the Durga-Asura battle or Ram-Ravana battle characters. Below is a picture of Ravana we made.
Festivals are a great opportunity to learn new words, colours, and about religion and culture. Here are some activities we loved.
Shanaya learned about the weapons of Maa Durga and the virtue each weapon represents by matching them with names and placing them on Durga’s hands.
Shanaya enjoyed knowing about the nine incarnations of the goddess Durga which are celebrated during Navratri and matching them with the colors associated with each.
Durga puja vocabulary!
Finally, the dramatic stories of festivals are easy plots to adopt for a fun and silly play-acts. The play can be enacted in the living room area, using household things and clothes that you already have as props and costumes. Ram Ravana's battle, Durga battling the asura, and any of the hundreds of scenes from these stories can be chosen. Choose small events and scenes and just have a hilarious time acting the scene out.
I hope you this post gave you a lot of ideas to plan few activities for your child to celebrate the wonderful festival!! You can also check out this blog for some great ideas. Happy Durga Puja!
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