Binny's Diwali and Lintel with Gajalakshmi and Other Hindu Deities
Featured Book: Binny's Diwali, written by Thrity Umrigar and illustrated by Nidhi Chanani
Featured Artwork: Lintel with Gajalakshmi and Other Hindu Deities, India: Madhya Pradesh, late 10th century
In Binny's Diwali, written by Thrity Umrigar and illustrated by Nidhi Chanani, Binny is excited to teach her classmates about Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. But when she stands up to present, she has trouble finding the words. Luckily her teacher encourages her to take a deep breath and begin again. She then remembers that Diwali is about celebrating the victory of goodness, and that on Diwali, diyas (oil lamps) are lit for good luck and to chase away darkness. She brings out bags of colored powder to make rangolis, patterned decorations on the floor, and, in the end, her class loves learning about the festival of lights.
Diwali is also associated with Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Rangolis are drawn outside homes to welcome the goddess and good fortune. In Lintel with Gajalakshmi and Other Hindu Deities, we see the goddess seated in the center of other Hindu gods with two elephants (gaja) perched on lotuses bathing her, a symbol of the rain fertilizing the earth.
Inspired by Binny's Diwali and Lintel with Gajalakshmi and Other Hindu Deities, make a rangoli design outside your home using sidewalk chalk or on a paper using color pencils, crayons or markers.