Diwali is the festival of joy, excitement and games with blissful radiance from everywhere. This prominent Hindu festival is celebrated across the Indian sub-continent with great pride and vigor. Also known as Deepavali, it symbolises the triumph of good over evil.
The Diwali holidays present a great opportunity to teach children about the history of this magnificent festival and dive into Hindu culture. Here is our pick of Diwali stories for kids that will enrich your child’s cultural knowledge of this occasion.
Diwali Stories for Kids
1. Story of Dhanteras
The festivities of Diwali commence with the day of Dhanteras. An ancient legend attributes Dhanteras to an interesting story about the 16-year-old son of King Hima.
The 16-year-old son of King Hima was predicted to die on his fourth day of marriage (on Dhanteras) while sleeping by snakebite. However, as the new bride got to know about it, she decided she would not let him fall asleep.
She laid out all her ornaments as well as pots of gold and silver coins at the entrance to their bedroom and lit lots of lamps. To keep her husband from falling asleep, she narrated him stories and sang songs.
When the God of Death, Yama, came disguised as a snake, he was so dazzled by the glittering precious metals and lights that he climbed on top of the coins and listened to the stories and songs instead. Since Yama missed the time set for the boy’s death, he slinked away in peace.
Thus, the young prince was saved from the clutches of death by the cleverness of his new bride, and the day came to be celebrated as Dhanteras.
2. Lord Dhanvantri
Another story associated with Dhanteras is of the emergence of Lord Dhanteras – The master of health. It is believed that Lord Dhanteras, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, emerged from the ocean on the day of Dhanteras while bringing along the science of Ayurveda – the eternal knowledge of life and the nectar of immortality.
Lord Dhanvantri, the Hindu God of Medicine, is worshipped on Dhanteras. Worshippers seek his blessings for their sound health and over-all well being of their family and friends.
3. Narak Chaturdashi Story
The next day of Dhanteras is celebrated as Narak Chaturdashi. It marks the second day of Deepavali celebrations and is also known as Chhoti Diwali. On this day, Naraka – the demon king was beheaded by Lord Vishu.
According to legend, Naraka wished to marry Devi Kamakhya. However, Devi Kamakhaya set forth a condition that he build a flight of stairs to the heaven. This angered Naraka and he soon conquered both heaven and earth, and along with them enslaved 16000 princesses. It is then that Lord Vishnu beheaded Naraka and recused all the princesses. Narak Chaturdashi celebrates this triumph of good over evil.
4. Story of Diwali
The most popular story associated with Diwali is the homecoming of Ram, Sita and Lakshman to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. This lovely, enchanting animation of the Deepawali story will delight you and your kids equally! Simplified narration coupled with eye-catching animations and impressive background music makes this Diwali story for kids a favourite with all. Be prepared to watch it on repeat!
5. Lord Mahavira Attaining Nirvana
Diwali has special significance in Jainism. According to the legend, it was on the day of Diwali that Lord Mahavira attained nirvana. Lord Mahavira was the founder of Jainism. Some Hindus consider him to be reincarnation of Lord Vishnu. Lord Mahaveera was born as Prince Vardhamana to King Siddhartha and Queen Trishala and left his home in pursuit of spiritual awakening at the age of 30years.
6.Story of Govardhan
The day after Diwali is celebrated as Govardhan. This festival symbolises a harvest festival. It is believed that on this day, Lord Krishna persuaded people of Vrindavan to offer obeisance to Govardhan mountain instead of Indra – the god of rains. Angered by this shift, Indra sent torrential rains to Gokul and Virandavan.
Krishna saved the villagers from the storm by providing them refuge under the Govardhan mountain.
7. Story of Bali Padyami
It is believed that the fourth day of Diwali celebrations marks the defeat of king Bali and triumph of Vamana – the reincarnation of Vishnu. King Bali was the grandson of Prahlad and extremely powerful. He was advised by Rishi Shukracharya to perform yagnas to keep him forever powerful and victorious. Fearing Bali’s growing powers, Indra approached Lord Vishnu for help. Lord Vishnu reincarnated a dwarf named Vamana to help Indra reinstate his status and powers
8. The Story of Bhai Dooj
The last day marking the end of Diwali festivities is Bhai Dooj. It is believed that the lord of death Yamraj visited his sister Yamuna on this day. He blessed her with a boon that whosoever visits her on this day shall be free of his/her sins and would attain moksha – freedom from reincarnation.
This day symbolises the loving bond between brothers and sisters. Often brothers visit their sisters on this day to seek their blessings.
The above stories illustrate the significance of the revelries of each day of the 5-day long Diwali occasion. These mythological tales will help your children understand their cultural significance behind each of the festivities and enhance their knowledge and respect for their traditions.
In case your children wish to dwell deeper, here are a few Diwali books for kids you should consider.
Diwali Books for Kids
Suitable for children between six and eight years, this beautifully illustrated book packs enough details to sate the curious minds.
2. Lights for Gita
This is a perfect book for children who have just moved and miss home, especially on the eve of Diwali. Gita, who has recently migrated to Canada and is missing home. A heartwarming tale, this will certainly resonate with Indian families living abroad and missing the luster of Diwali.
This is a highly acclaimed book that teaches the significance of 5 days of the festival of lights in a delightful way. It is a story of three friends – Maya, Neel and their cute little partner Chintu the squirrel and how they learn about the festivities and the traditions.
Meet Jay and Tina who make 101 clay diyas for Diwali. Diwali is a day away and the divas are not dry yet. Will the diyas be ready for Diwali or will Jay and Tina be disappointed?
A wonderfully sweet Diwali story, this one is the best for younger children. Easy to understand language and cute illustrations make it a hit with toddlers.
This is a fast-paced rendition of Ramayana – the Epic tale. Perfect for children who are eager to learn beyond just the five days of festivities. Perfect for kids 8 years and above.
Rani – the princess is entrusted with the task of Diwali decorations after the palace decorator meets with an accident. This gripping tale will surely delight children.
This beautifully illustrated Ramayana story by veteran Pixar animator Sanjay Pate is a feast for the eyes. Apt for children 7years and above, this is a must buy.
9. Hanuman’s Ramayana
This is a light-hearted version of Ramayana by none other than Lord Hanuman. This Ramayana is witty and explores the story from Hanuman’s perspective. A delightful read.
Learn about the rituals and traditional activities around the festival with this beautifully illustrated book.
11. Shubh Diwali
This Diwali book for kids introduces the festival of lights to children in a sweet way. From making rangolis to flower garlands, this book covers all the little details around Deepavali.
13. Diwali Rose
This story is about a young boy Ricki who is excited to find out the colour of Diwali. While he has a hard time waiting to find out what that might be, he learns the true significance of the festival.
14. Sita’s Ramayana
Want to take your children on a cultural ride? Browse these posts:
Panchatantra Stories for Kids for important life lessons
Celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi with Kids
Halloween Fun for Kids — throwing light on ghouls