We're encouraging residents to celebrate Diwali safely at home this year.
The national lockdown, and new coronavirus restrictions, means that Diwali will be celebrated a little differently this year.
Staying home this year will help protect you, and your loved ones
James Williams, Medway Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “We understand that the new national restrictions will be disappointing for residents who usually celebrate Diwali with friends and family from other households, but staying at home this year will help protect you and your loved ones from coronavirus. There are plenty of ways that you can celebrate safely at home and I would encourage residents to use technology to celebrate Diwali virtually this year. We all have a part to play to reduce the spread of coronavirus and anyone who has new coronavirus symptoms is urged to book a test as soon as possible and to self-isolate. We must all work together to protect our loved ones and reduce the spread of this virus.”
Celebrating time together virtually
Priya Pai, from Rochester, would usually exchange gifts and visit family and friends during Diwali, but this year her family will be sending gifts in the post.
Priya, an Information, Advice and Guidance Specialist at Medway Council, said: “Diwali is my favourite festival and it’s celebrated with family and friends but this year, it will be celebrated at home with my husband and two children. In past years, we’ve had friends visit us for a Diwali meal, but we will be celebrating as a family without visitors this Saturday.”
Priya and her family have already started the festivities by painting diyas (clay lamps) and will be creating Rangoli with coloured rice and petals which is believed to bring good luck. Usually they would attend a Diwali party but under the current national restrictions, this is not possible this year.
She added: “This year, Diwali will be celebrated differently as we cannot visit friends or family but would be enjoyed safely within the house. We will be following the same traditions, but we have planned an online meeting with our family in India to enjoy the festival together and play online games to celebrate time together virtually.”
Achala Purohit, an Application and Integration ICT Engineer at Medway Council, added: “Perhaps the biggest change this year will be to learn from the internet, and other sources, what the scientific meaning of Diwali is. I’m planning to have zoom sessions with family and friends and maybe learn to create rangoli designs using Youtube for help, along with other decorations. We’ll be decorating the front door each day for the festival along with preparing special dishes to eat.”