Celebrating Onam with Colors and Flowers
At ILM Montessori we’re always waiting for festive occasions to celebrate with our kids. In a multicultural and cosmopolitan society, festivals provide the perfect opportunity for kids to understand and develop respect for other cultures and religions. And the past two weeks have been very generous, giving us two back to back festivals- Ganesh Chaturthi and Onam for our kids to revel in.
Taking cue from the rest of the country, we declared a holiday for Ganesh Chaturthi, but not before we gave the kids a series of art activities a couple of days earlier, where they made Laddoos from clay dough and colored a sketch of the Hindu God Ganesha.
Taking cue from the rest of the country again, we didn’t declare a holiday for Onam and celebrated this harvest festival with a series of art activities that symbolized the spirit of this vibrant and joyous occasion.
Sitting in a circle in the Art Room with their chowkis for their first activity, our kids were asked to color a sketch of a big bold flower and also trace the alphabets which spelled the greeting “Happy Onam” above it.
They were then presented with some fresh flower petals and with a little help from the adult, Lubna, they spread some glue and sprinkled colorful tiny petals bringing the sketch of the flower to life.
While the younger ones like Hamna and Rayyan seemed to enjoy coloring with crayons more, our older ones like Dia and Rafaa spent a great deal of time choosing different colored petals to beautify their flower sketches.
Once these works of art were complete, they were asked to write their names on it, place their work and wait for it to dry.
Lubna then picked a few flowers of her choice and began making a “Pookalam” or a “Flower Rangoli” as she called it to make it easier for the kids to remember.
She then asked our kids one by one to pick a few flowers of their choice and place them around the circle of flowers she had placed. The multicolored “Flower Rangoli” gave the kids an opportunity to display their creativity, familiarizing them with different forms, sizes and colors.
While they were engrossed in a symbolic activity of Onam, Lubna took this opportunity to explain that Onam is known as the “Flower Harvest Festival” and described how it is celebrated throughout India by people belonging to the state of Kerala. This made them realize that by making a flower rangoli, they too were actually celebrating the festival like everyone else and not just working with flowers for yet another art activity.
The older kids were more involved as they constantly kept changing the design while the younger ones preferred to just stand and observe them with curiosity after placing a couple of flowers.
It was almost time to go home and only after several pleas most of our kids reluctantly stopped working with flowers and proudly displayed their pretty “Flower Rangoli” and finally wished each other “Happy Onam”.