Fun Facts To Teach Your Kids About Traditional Indian Clothes, Food and Deepavali
Here are fun facts you can teach your kids about Indian culture and traditions.
With the help of the Indian Heritage Centre and the National Heritage Board, we take a closer look at the Indian culture through the clothes, food and the festival Deepavali, celebrated by many Indians in Singapore.
Traditional Indian Clothes
Though not all Indians dress traditionally in Singapore, clothing still plays an important part in Indian culture and traditions. Clothing in India varies by area. Here are fun facts you can teach your kids about traditional Indian clothes:
Sari or Saree
The sari (also spelt as saree), worn by women, is a long piece of rectangular cloth that is wrapped around the body. Saris are commonly made of cotton or silk and
come in many different colours and patterns.
Veshti or Dhoti
The veshti, also called a dhoti, is worn by men. It is a long white cloth wrapped around the waist and tied with a knot either in front or at the back.
Traditional clothes are also worn during the celebration of festivals and ceremonies such as weddings.
Traditional Indian Festival: Deepavali
Festivals are an important part of the Indian community in Singapore. Indians celebrate many cultural, traditional and religious festivals throughout the year. Although there is a myriad of Indian festivals celebrated around the world, in Singapore, there is one key festival Indians celebrate: Deepavali.
Deepavali, also known as the Festival of Lights, celebrates the victory of good over evil and light over darkness. The first time the festival was celebrated was when Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya from exile after 14 long years!
On the morning of Deepavali, most Hindus wake up early to take their oil baths before putting on their new clothes. Younger family members also receive blessings and small gifts from their elders.
Small clay oil lamps, also called diyas, are placed at the front door to draw positive energy into the homes.
The doorways of homes are also decorated with rangoli (or kolam).
These are patterns made from coloured rice powder or rice grains. The colourful floor decoration is said to turn away negative energy from the homes.
During Deepavali, new clothes represent a new start, and a hope to become a better person.
Bright colours are usually chosen as they are said to bring good luck.
Traditional Indian Food Served During Deepavali
Popular food items served during Deepavali include mithai (traditional Indian sweets), murukku (a savoury, crunchy snack) and vadai (a savoury fritter).
Mithai (a Hindi/Urdu word for sweets)—are Indian sweets typically made with some combination of flour, legumes, nuts, sugar and milk or khoya (a slow-boiled semi-solid dairy product), and then often enhanced with cardamom, rose water, or saffron. They are typically either dry or semi-hard and soaked in either milk or sugar syrup.
Murukku is a savoury, crunchy Indian snack. Its name derives from the Tamil word for “twisted”, which refers to its shape.
Vadai is a very popular Indian savoury fritter. Vadai is a very traditional dish and often served during Hindu festivals such as Deepavali. It consists of a crispy texture on the outside and a soft texture in the inside.
Activities To Try
Now that you’ve learnt more about the Traditional Indian clothing, food and the festival Deepavali, why not try these fun activities to test your kid’s knowledge on the Indian culture?
As parents, it is important for us to make sure we transferring values and traditions to our kids. This awareness will enable kids to understand different cultures. Thanks to the National Heritage Board, through the Indian Heritage Centre (IHC), you can teach your kids and help them uncover and explore some interesting facts on the different Indian cultures and traditions.
Through artefact and interactive displays at IHC depict the experiences of the Indian community in both Singapore and Malaya in the colonial period, and highlight the contributions of the Indian and South Asian communities to Singapore’s nation-building efforts.
This article was contributed by the National Heritage Board and was edited and published for theAsianparent.