Diwali encourages Western Sydney to look on the bright side

Blacktown Hospital pharmacy staff celebrate Diwali (from left) pharmacy technicians Maria Masud and Dayaline Jeyamohan, pharmacist Rushminder Saran, senior pharmacy technician Surelta Raju, pharmacy aide Ajay Chakma and pharmacy technician Srujana Kasanavesi.

Western Sydney will be buzzing with festive energy and bright colours this weekend to celebrate the Hindu festival of Diwali.

For maternity clinical support officer Divya Elango, it is going to be a special one celebrating her first Diwali as a married woman.

The newlyweds will be keeping it small this year, inviting only immediate family members to their home.

“Diwali is one of the biggest celebrations of the year for Indians, but this year has given us the opportunity to spend it in a smaller circle. I am glad, because my parents will get to know my husband’s side of the family better,” Divya said.

Westmead Hospital maternity clinical support officer Divya Elango.

“Diwali is a festival of light. It is about looking at the bright side of the situation and celebrating the good things in your life. This year it is as important as ever.

“We did not decorate the maternity ward due to COVID-19 and infection precautions, but we feel the festive atmosphere anyway. We have a few Indian and Sri Lankan families taking their bubs home – what can be more special?”

It is customary to wear new clothes, exchange sweets and light up fire crackers for Diwali. This year, even India’s largest celebrations were scaled down.

Blacktown Hospital pharmacy technician Maria Masud, pharmacy storekeeper Angela Seitz and pharmacy technician Srujana Kasanavesi.

“I wish everyone a bright and happy Diwali. Let’s spread positive energy and stay safe,” Divya said.

“I know many people who went and got tested for COVID before attending gatherings this weekend. It is important to be responsible if you are planning to visit your close friends and family.”

If you have any symptoms, remember to stay home and get tested. Getting tested is free, simple and easy, and most people will receive their results within 24 hours.

To have a safe celebration, please remember to follow a few simple safety tips:

  • Keep gatherings with friends and family small to protect yourself and loved ones.
  • You can have maximum 20 visitors to your home or a gathering of less than 30 people in outdoor public places at any one time.
  • If you go to a place of worship, wear a mask if you’re unable to physical distance.
  • Don’t hug or kiss people who are not from the same household.
  • Be aware of the 1.5 meters physical distance.
  • Don’t share utensils and foods.
  • Wash your hands regularly.

If you have questions and need support:Call 1800 020 080 (24/7) for health questions or to check symptoms.

  • Call 13 77 88 (24/7) for non-health related questions.
  • Call 1800 512 348 (24/7) for mental wellbeing support
  • Visit www.healthdirect.gov.au  to check symptoms.
  • Visit www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19  for all other COVID-19 related information.