I'm Veronica, and I'm a Commercial Analyst Manager here at the gaff. As well as my usual duties getting my head stuck into data, one of the things that I've been focusing on recently is helping people here in the office learn about other people's cultures and histories through events and discussion. As Diwali is coming up (27th October), we wanted to make sure people had an opportunity to learn about it and what it means to different people, so we're going to be having a learning lunch with the folks here at the office.
For those of you who haven't heard of Diwali or know much about it, it's often called the Festival of Lights, and lots of people celebrate it differently. For Sikhs this is a important day because it celebrates the release from prison of the sixth guru, Guru Hargobind, and 52 other princes with him, in 1619. His return is celebrated by lighting the Golden Temple and this tradition continues today. For Hindus, Diwali signifies the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil. Some celebrate it as a celebration in honour of the return of Lord Rama from a 14-year exile, during which he defeated the demon king Ravana. Villagers lit the path home with lamps and illuminated the city in honour of Rama’s victory. Other Hindus celebrate Diwali to commemorate Lord Krishna’s defeat over King Narakasura, an evil King who held tens of thousands of inhabitants captive. I am aware that some Hindus celebrate it for a different reason, as there are many stories in Hindu scriptures, I'm not knowledgeable on those other stories so would love to hear them from those who celebrate differently.
Because of all these differences, we'd love to get a wide range of experience and hear from a lot of different people about your Diwali experience.
For me, a memory that really stands out is inviting my neighbours around when I was young. Along with all of our friends and family arriving to celebrate, we'd invite our neighbours around to try the food and celebrate with our fireworks display, and have the opportunity to share good memories with one another over a home-cooked meal. It always struck me as a positive celebration to share with the people you love how much they mean to you, and I look forward to it every year.
I'd love to hear your stories so that we can share these different experiences with the rest of the team here at HQ, and bring people together on the community to learn about something new. What does Diwali mean to you?