CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 20. . . . June 6, 2003
In a new country, even the old festivals seem different. Eight-year-old Gita is excited about Divali, the Hindu festival of lights. When a winter ice-storm closes roads and knocks out electrical lines, Gita's new Canadian friends are prevented from coming to her party. Gita's mother encourages her to still celebrate Divali. In the darkness, Gita's Divali light shines brightly. It is the only light shining on her street. Eventually, other residents light candles as well. The light from the candles sparkles on the ice covered branches and wires. Hope seems to be shining in these lights. It is almost like being in New Delhi with the real festival of lights.
Based on Rachna Gilmore's book by the same title, this excellent animated vignette portrays and celebrates multiculturalism and suggests that culture "mutates" according to interactions with other cultures and environments. Celebrating cultural-based festivals with others, in quiet ways, like Gita's shining candle, can also serve to build hope between peoples and cultures. Discussion regarding storms and their effects on people, lights and religious events, and role playing Gita's Divali in Canada will help educators and caregivers explore how people cope with events that are beyond their control.
Denise Weir is a consultant with Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, Public Library Services.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.