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Celebrating Culture, Community, and Collaboration through the Performing Arts PART 1: Diwali in Grade 3

This year’s Holiday Concert is beginning to shape up to become a wonderful celebration of our diverse cultures through global celebrations.  

The Grade 3 class knew early on that their focus would be related to Diwali, the “Festival of Lights”. A couple of Grade 3 students have acted as our experts and together we’ve researched the story and traditions surrounding Diwali with the help of our parent community. “I think Diwali teaches a really big lesson because the story sounds very real. It’s teaching you that the light in every situation makes things nicer.  If you use darkness, it doesn’t solve anything.”-T. in Grade 3

Together, the Grade 3 class and I have written a song about Diwali for the Holiday Concert. Our lyrics are written to the tune of the song “Jai Ho” which is a song composed by A. R. Rahman, who won an Oscar for the song when it appeared in the film Slumdog Millionaire.

“It’s a good experience because it felt good. A song takes a lot of time to memorize it and be confident. It was inspiring because the people who belong to the culture in our class gave us a lot of ideas. It is hard to do it because you can’t use the same word two times.”- J. in Grade

One of our Grade 3 parents has teamed with us to help create Bollywood style choreography for our performance.

Reflections from our parent expert;


“It’s truly a pleasure to share something I love to do. Dancing has always provided me something to be passionate about and an activity outside of school. My middle school and high school life was in the war zone of Srilanka.  We didn’t have much options to be entertained (no electricity). Parents provided us the opportunity to learn music and dance and it was our entertainment and passion. At one point I even thought I’ll be a dancer!”


“We try to share/provide the cultural experience for our daughter as much as we can but I feel like it encourages her to know more when it’s discussed at school. She would come and ask me  more questions. In Grade 2 she came and asked me about celebrations that we do because they talked about different cultures and celebrations in her class. For one of her current events, she was happy to share about Thanksgiving that we do in Sri Lanka. I feel like it gives her more confidence to talk about things done differently at home and also knowing and learning that there are so many other cultures which has its own celebrations and some times there are similar ideas like Thanksgiving. Knowledge of diverse cultures brings understanding and understanding build respect for each other.”“For me it wasn’t that hard because I’m partly Indian but if you didn’t know how to Bollywood dance it would be really hard. It was fun!”- I. from Grade 3

Our expert parent has joined us for one awesome workshop so far and we look forward to the next time she visits. Bollywood dancing is a lot of fun and we’re learning so much about Diwali. What an amazing celebration!

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