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RAISING LUMINARIES

Hi, I’m Ashia, founder & Head Custodian of Infodumpery for Raising Luminaries.

I create free tool kits to help overworked caregivers ignite the next generation of leaders.

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Home Book Collections Diwali & Bandhi Chhor Diwas

Diwali & Bandhi Chhor Diwas

via Ashia
Published: Updated: 539 views

Raising Luminaries & Books for Littles are free and accessible for readers who can’t afford a paywall. Since we’re a contribute-what-you can community, I try to fill in the gaps with affiliate links. Posts may contain affiliate links, which allow me to earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Check out the full affiliate disclosure along with my statement of accountability.

 


Let’s Learn About Diwali & Bandhi Chhor Diwas

archie celebrates diwali ramayana: divine loophole Sita's Ramayana

Celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists, the festivals of Diwali, Deepavali, and Bandhi Chhor Diwas (plus many other light-based festivals held in South Asia) fall on the same time of year and incorporate similar traditions, but have different origin stories depending on who is celebrating and how religious or secular they’re getting about it.

From what little I know, both Bandi Chhor Diwas and Diwali are a celebration of solidarity against tyranny and human-rights abuses, regardless of which religion you’re coming into it from. As a festival of lights, illumination as a symbol of knowledge and goodness in the face of ignorance and cruelty.

Until recently, it’s been hard to find a book on Diwali that wasn’t enthusiastically bigoted against darker-skin. (Still can’t find any books about the other festivals). It seems silly to read a book about the the Hindu Diwali without addressing of Rama’s defeat of Ravana and the return of Rama and Sita. However – in these picture books, folks go overboard with the visual metaphors, particularly those who have been raised to see darkness as ignorant/evil and whiteness as smart/good. In almost all of these illustrated stories, the good guys = light skinned and bad guys and peasants = dark skinned. Yeah, no thanks on the colorism.

It’s even header to find books on Diwali that don’t just gloss over the sexism in the original Ramayana. Some of the more modern books skip over the whole victim-blaming, chop off the inconvenient parts of the story, OR they treat Sita’s purity test as natural or ideal. Sita as a female object to be revered in virginity, captured like property, helplessly rescued, victim-blamed and slut-shamed for her implied rape, then self-martyred (what a way to sum up the expectations of women!)

Which is why I’m excited that my kids are getting old enough to dig into the harm of a narrow, over-simplified victim / savior / villain trope common in supremacist stories. We can finally pick through the sexism in the Ramayana and unpack it through modern feminist takes from Sita’s point of view.

So here are the books that don’t…do the colorism, at least.

When is it?

  • Lasts about five days, celebrated during the Hindu lunisolar month of Kartika, which falls around October or November.

Read:

  • Let’s Celebrate Diwali (ages 3-5) This is the first and ONLY story book that respects and upholds the faith of multiple Diwali-celebrating religions – without claiming any as the ‘right’ one.
  • Archie Celebrates Diwali (ages 3-7)
  • Ramayana: Divine Loophole (ages 9+) Patel took so many liberties with this retelling, but still kept the violence, and gross treatment of women. It’ll have to do for now. This is the most engaging intro to the Ramayana for English-speaking kids, but make sure to read alongside Sita’s Ramayana (ages 9+) as a counterpoint to the sexism.

Additional resources to dig deeper into this topic:

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Ashia (they/them or she/her)

I’m an Autistic, multiracial (Chinese/Irish) 2nd-generation settler raising two children alongside my partner on the homelands of the Wampanoag and Massachusett people. My goal with Raising Luminaries is to collaborate with families and educators in raising the next generation of kind & courageous leaders, so we can all smash the kyriarchy together.

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RAISING LUMINARIES

Hi, I’m Ashia, founder & Head Custodian of Infodumpery for Raising Luminaries.

I create free tool kits to help overworked caregivers ignite the next generation of leaders.

ABOUT | MISSION | FINANCIALS | ACCOUNTABILITY

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT

STAY IN TOUCH

Get free monthly email notifications when I publish new Family Action Toolkits

FREE STUFF

JOIN OUR COMMUNITY

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Posts may contain affiliate links and  sponsorships, which allow me to earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

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