It was so exciting
the celebration of the festival of light in an autumnal atmosphere. A season where the
" treat-or-trick" Halloween spell has been omnipresent for years at school.
Anne my English colleague, had a clear idea of how to organise this first encounter with a faraway world. She had a great experience working with diverse communities and had taken part in many cultural exchanges at her school in England.
I then remembered the City of Joy , dressed in tiny glowing Diwali lamps in the darkest of the nights and I shivered.
Anne and myself had a challenge teachers face constantly, how to transmit the essence of what we have loved.

The story of Rama and Sita

helped us to get started . The children were introduced to a fascinating story about a prince and a princess who fought Ravanna, the terrible ten headed monster. I remember the day a group of class IV had come from the library, where Rocío with great enthusiasm had helped them act out the story. All the children could explain what Dewali was, the happy return of the prince and princess after overcoming terrible feasts, it was a happy celebration

Children took part in different types of activities.

Class II children did Mahendi on posters, a harmonious pattern Indian women decorate their hands with in important ocassions. Walls were covered in this pretty design.
Everybody contribueted to create an amazing display. Andres´ Ganesh God Bhakti, Simon´s Rajastan case, were bits that made more perfect the tapestry we were weaving.

Children in the different school modules visited the Display on Dewali

They learned about Tagore, and read some of his simple poetic messages " The soil in return for its service keeps the tree tied to her, the sky asks nothing and leaves it free". They learned about Gandhi and his conquest of the world through non-violence. They thought the appearance of Mother Teresa was funny but were amazed to know how she started a school in the street. They could see village instances of life inIndia, people by the river Ganges, children going to school in their inmaculate uniforms surrounded by dirt. They could touch traditional village rag dolls and wooden hairbrushes, smell spices, got to know that women wear red in India to get married and look really pretty. They felt the charm of Taj Mahal and wondered at its inmensity.

The closing celebration attempted to create the joyful spirit of Dewali,

classes I, II,III and IV gathered in the gym. The children had a sticker on their forehead, a distinctive symbol in the Indian culture, that helped them to get into the atmosphere. We made a circle and passed to each other a "dia lamp" at the greeting of "Happy Diwali". Then class IV students did a short play on the story and the younguest kids eagerly shouted "Rama, Sita, monkey...."
Children from the different year groups showed the other classes samples of the lovely mahendi designs and rangoli patterns they have made. They were asked simple questions about the projects they have done in the classes and gave prompt and clear answers.
As in all happy celebrations the spectacular close was the dance. All class teachers joined in along with a dedicated audience. we danced to the rhythm of "Jay ho", "We succeeded". it was a moment we would remember the whole year, teachers dressed in sarees, moving to the beat of the music in that silky, slippery attire, children cheerfully moving to the catchy tune of the music.A moment of happiness to end up our visit to India.

That day after school in some children´s homes, it was Diwali.

Mª Diana Sánchez Moreno ( 2nd cycle English Teacher); CEIP. Parque de Lisboa, Alcorcó