Two care assistants at Gibraltar Nursing Home in Monmouth, Pooja Patel, and Krishna Patel, have invited team members and family members to be part of their Diwali celebrations.

Diwali is an important religious Hindu festival that originated in India. The 5-day celebration links to the ancient legend of Lord Rama, who was deprived of his kingdom and sent into exile for 14 years. Diwali celebrates Rama’s eventual defeat of the evil spirit Ravana, and his triumphant return to his home.

Often referred to as “The Festival of Light”, Gibraltar lit candles and lanterns outside the doors of the home as a symbol of the victory of light over darkness throughout Diwali.

Pooja explained how in India, Diwali is not just a festival of light, but a time for friends and family to get together to enjoy traditional rituals such as preparing meals, decorating spaces, and going to temples they call Mandir. “As I am living in the UK I can’t meet my parents, family, and friends who are living in India, so myself and my friend Krishna decided that it doesn’t matter how far we are living from home. Instead, we decided to carry on our culture here by making Indian street food and sweets to bring into the home to give to the team and family members.”

In India, food is an important social tradition. The women made traditional street food Vada Pav and Indian sweet Gulab Jamun and brought them into the home so that everyone could experience their gift of authentic Indian cuisine. They also created a beautiful rangoli in the reception area.

This week, Pooja and Krishna will also be creating a meaningful mealtime experience for family members by serving them a traditional Indian dinner to mark the end of Diwali on Wednesday for New Year. We asked Pooja what it means to her to be able to share her culture and celebrations with the home. “We like to share happiness and love. We are celebrating our Diwali in our care home by decorating it with lights and rangoli, wearing traditional clothes, and telling people about our culture.”


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