Today Trevor brought home a notice from his teacher saying that his kindergarten class celebrated Diwali on Thursday last week. The notice says, "Diwali is a South Asian celebration, celebrated in India and many other parts of the world, including Canada. Diwali is the celebration of lights. It's a time for many to share love, success, and happiness."
During the class, they read a story, danced to Bhangra music, and painted divas. A diva, as I understand, is like a tiny bowl for lighting a home. I have plans to ask Trevor how exactly that's used for Diwali. I can only guess that it's meant to hold a candle.
Here's what I think is great about all this:
1.) Trevor learned something about another culture
2.) It gives me opportunity to talk with him about what the difference is between celebrating Diwali and celebrating life in Christ
3.) It gives me a starting point for talking with Indian parents at the school. When the opportunity arises I can ask them if they celebrate Diwali and I can mention the diva Trevor painted. I can talk about what I think is beautiful about Diwali and, if we're enjoying our conversation, I can talk about what our own family believes. When I have these kinds of conversations they usually go quite well. I tend to pay attention to nonverbal cues, so if the person appears receptive and the moment presents itself I can share the Gospel message. It's not about trying to control anyone. It's about sharing thoughts and loving another human being.
4.) It gets my curiosity going. Now I want to google Diwali. And I want to find answers to my new questions. Do people in India celebrate Christmas? What other traditions do they have besides Diwali? Is that a Sikh temple in Abbotsford or is that for Hinduism? I know that a Sikh man grows his hair long and wears a turban. Does a Hindu man do the same thing? Chances are I can even ask some of the parents these questions. Most people are happy to answer such questions and knowing these things is important to me because if my children and I are going to be in contact with Indian people on a regular basis, I want to be able to love them in a way that's meaningful to them.