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Diwali Explained: Supporting a Looked After Child's Religious Practices

The Diwali festival is a popular festival of lights which is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains throughout the world.

It celebrates new beginnings and light over darkness. Diwali has derived from Deepavali, which means “row of lighted lamps.” During the festival, small oil lamps can be seen in houses, shops and other public places. The festival lasts for 5 days, although the date changes year on year. It has different meanings for each religion.

Hindus celebrate Mother Goddess Durga destroying a demon and the return of deities Rama and Sita to Ayodhya. Sikhs celebrate the prison release of Hargobind Singh, and Jains celebrate Lord Mahavira reaching Moksha.

As well as the oil lamps, there are several other traditions during the Diwali Festival, including visiting families and sharing a feast, fireworks and worshipping Lakshmi, the Hindu Goddess of Wealth.

As a foster carer, it is not essential that you share the same religion or cultural beliefs as your looked after child, but it is important that you take their views and religious practices into account. It’s important to consider that culture and religion may be a big part of their personal identity and that by having some familiarity and understanding will help them to continue to feel supported to explore their own beliefs.

If you are supporting a looked after child who has a different religion or cultural beliefs to yours or perhaps you have no religion, but your looked after child has a strong faith, the best thing you can do is support them. There are various ways you can do this.

In many cases, children with specific cultural beliefs will wear clothing which is suited to their religion. You should encourage them and buy them appropriate clothing, if they desire it. For example, the Hijab or Mosque Hat.

Food is very important in many religions, for example, most Muslim families only eat Halal meat. An awareness of the food your looked after child eats is vital and checking ingredients to ensure they meet the dietary requirements is essential. Your social worker will be able to advise you on the child’s dietary requirements.

There is no need to be worried or concerned if you foster a child with religious beliefs that you may be unfamiliar with. We understand it can be different to you own, but you will receive support and training and have access to a wealth of resources. If you’d like to have a chat about fostering a child with different religious beliefs, get in touch and we’ll be happy to guide you through it.

What if I’m unsure how I can best support my foster child?

There will be a whole host of support available to you as a foster carer throughout your fostering journey with us. You can read more about the support available for foster carers here or have an informal chat with one of our team.

Learn more about fostering in Rotherham

If you have any questions about fostering in Rotherham, book a call back with a member of our experienced team at a time that suits you. All our call backs are confidential.


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