We asked our staff: What does Easter mean to you?

WSLHD staff (left to right) Maged Nessim, Pinalben Patel, Khin Myint, Fran McEwen and Mona Malla.

Western Sydney Local Health District services one of the most diverse areas in the country, where nearly half of all residents were born overseas.

With so many different cultures and religions coming together, we asked five staff members: what does Easter mean to you?

Mount Druitt Hospital’s general services assistant Fran McEwen.

Fran McEwen, General Services assistant, Mount Druitt Hospital

“Easter changes each year for me. As my kids have grown we now get together on Good Friday and have a BBQ with fish and salads,” Fran said.

“I spend Easter Sunday with the family sharing chocolate Easter eggs. I have a large family – my 35-year-old twin boys have 11 children between them!

“Last year I went to the Good Friday NRL game where the Sydney Roosters played the Melbourne Storm.

“This game was an emotional game for me.”

Auburn Hospital administration officer Maged Nessim is a Christian in the Egyptian Orthodox Church.

Maged Nessim, administration officer, Auburn Hospital

As a member of the Egyptian Orthodox Church, Maged will observe Easter one week after the Australian holiday this year.

He will use the Easter long weekend to spend time with extended family before his church begins Passion Week, during which time he will attend Mass twice a day.

“This is the biggest fasting period for us, and the resurrection is the number one feast,” Maged said.

“On Good Friday we spend all day at the church. On Saturday we will be at church from midnight to 6am, and we come back to church again around 7pm for the biggest night in our Easter.

“The Mass finishes around 11.30pm and then we go home and have the biggest dinner. On Sunday morning the church is open for the kids and we give them some lollies and chocolate, and that night we go out for another big dinner.”

Westmead Hospital’s acting nurse unit manager Dialysis Unit Khin Myint.

Khin Myint, Dialysis Unit acting clinical nurse manager, Westmead Hospital

Buddhist and Burma-born Khin Myint is delighted to have this Easter weekend off work.

Khin will be spending quality time with her family, celebrating her daughter’s 22nd birthday as well as the Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) New Year.

“This is the first time in a long time where I’m not required to work,” she said.

“When my children were younger we gave them chocolate Easter eggs and I remember helping them make their Easter hats for the school parades.

“Now they are older they prefer money or technology.”

Khin said she still buys Easter eggs for her friends’ children, and the family will also enjoy fish on Good Friday – specifically, chilli marinated barramundi.

Auburn Hospital midwife Mona Malla is a Sunni Muslim.

Mona Malla, midwife, Auburn Hospital

“I’m Sunni Muslim. I was born and raised in Australia and I follow the routine pillars of Islamic faith,” Mona said.

“We’ve got Ramadan coming up in less than a month, so I will be fasting for that month, which I’m excited about. It’s a beautiful time because it brings us all together.

“We have nothing at all, no food or drink, from sunrise to sunset. And then between sunset to sunrise we spend time together and break our fast together as a family.”

Mona will be working this Friday, otherwise as a keen Bulldogs fan she would be at the Good Friday clash against the Rabbitohs. But her other Easter tradition will not be disrupted.

“I’ll still definitely go to the Easter Show! Even though I don’t celebrate the religious side of Easter, I definitely take advantage of the time with family and friends. And have lots of chocolate as well.”

Mount Druitt Hospital’s general services assistant Pinal Patel.

Pinalben Patel, General Services assistant, Mount Druitt Hospital

“I’m Hindu so we celebrate Diwali, kite festival and Navratri,” Pinal said. 

“We dress in bright colourful clothing, ‘garaba’ (dance) and eat traditional sweet foods and snacks such as kaju katli and laddu. These celebrations are normally held for five days in October or November depending on the Hindu Calendar.”

But while Easter isn’t part of Pinal’s religion, it’s a holiday she has embraced in Australia – including a classic school tradition.

“We celebrate by going out with 15-20 friends and family to a park or camping weekend,” she said.

“We enjoy water activities, swimming, cooking and eating BBQ vegetarian foods. We give chocolate Easter eggs to our family and friends, and currently I’m helping my son make his hat for his school’s Easter hat parade.”