SHP is committed to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in our community and in our workforce. One of the best ways to do this is to celebrate our cultural differences, which builds tolerance, as well as promoting inclusivity and community cohesion.
Colleagues and SHP residents celebrate Diwali, the festival of light, in early November. It is one of the main festivals celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists. The festival usually lasts five days and is celebrated during the Hindu lunisolar month Kartika. The final day of Diwali in 2021 is on Thursday 4 November.
We asked Raksha Vadgama, HR Training and Support Officer at SHP, what Diwali means to her and her family.
Raksha, what does Diwali mean to you?
"Diwali is the festival of light. It symbolises the victory of good over evil and is celebrated over a few days by Hindus and Sikhs all over the world. To me, it is the beginning of a new year and a time for celebrations and prayers and to remember that no matter how the year has gone, remember all the positive things that have happened."
How do you and your family celebrate Diwali?
"Leading up to Diwali we create colourful patterns called a 'Rangoli' which are created using coloured powder/sand. We also light tea-light candles and lamps and keep them all around the house. Food is really important during this festival so pre-Diwali, sweets and savoury delicacies are made and dropped off to friends, family and neighbours. On the actual day we make a traditional meal and get together with friends and family. The next day is the Hindu new year and the day starts by going to the temple followed by more celebrations. The night always ends with fireworks and sparklers."
What do you eat and drink during the festival?
"We eat Indian cuisine and drink soft drinks or alcoholic beverages, it's pretty much like celebrating New Year's Eve in the UK."
Is there a particular part of the festival that you enjoy the most?
"I particularly enjoy preparing the sweet and savoury gifts for all my friends and family as well as doing a Rangoli decoration with my siblings and cousins."
If you would like to try and recreate some of Raksha's favourite Diwali treats, please follow the recipes below.