Stay safe this Diwali and protect your loved ones

This year the festival of lights, Diwali will be celebrated very differently by Hindu, Sikh and Jain families across Buckinghamshire, as new national restrictions to control the virus started today.

The festival, which will take place on Saturday 14 November, typically sees families and friends coming together to enjoy the celebrations.  However, from 5 November to 2 December families across England must stay home to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Cabinet Member for Communities and Public Health, Cllr Gareth Williams, said: “As the new restrictions are in place from today, many residents who celebrate Diwali will be devastated they can’t spend this important festival with all their friends and family.

“I know this is a difficult situation, but you’re most likely to catch the virus from someone you know.  Together, we must continue to do everything we can to keep this virus under control and remember these three simple steps – wash hands, cover face, make space.

“As we go through this next phase, which will have its own set of challenges, I’d like to thank everyone in the community for continuing to play their part during this festive period and looking out for each other.”

Cllr Mimi Harker said: “I look forward to Diwali every year as it’s one of the few times in the year where I can get together with all my family and friends.  So, I do understand how hard it’s going to be for our community, as we are asked to stay home instead of enjoying the festive period like we normally would.  There are numerous events people can take part in online, safely from home with their families, and that is what I will be doing.  I wish you all a safe and Happy Diwali!”

If anyone experiences symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how mild, they must stay at home and book a test through www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or call 119.  Anyone they live with should isolate as well.  Symptoms include a high temperature, new continuous cough or loss or change in their sense of taste or smell.  Local test centres are now available in Aylesbury and High Wycombe.

 

Fun and safe ways to enjoy Diwali from home

 

  • Make a card for loved ones and post it or surprise them with a phone call.
  • Have a Rangoli competition, using colourful powder, drawing or printing online patterns and decorate with glitter, paint, rice or flowers and place on the doorstep.
  • Perform the story of Ramayana as a family and record it to share with grandparents.
  • Share kindness; donate to food banks, light a diya in memory of someone or write a letter to residents of a local care home.
  • Host quizzes, a fashion show, singing competition or fun games with family and friends via Zoom, Google, FaceTime or Skype.
  • Join others around the world in virtual celebrations from the warm comfort of home.

 

Diwali is a time that’s all about good triumphing evil, welcoming new beginnings, and allowing light to overcome darkness.  As diyas across households are lit and everyone faces another month of making sacrifices – this is an apt time as any in coming together as a community in protecting loved ones and saving lives.

Buckinghamshire Council has developed a video and flyers advising the community about how they can stay safe this Diwali.  Should you wish to request this to share within your community, please contact the Communications Team on: communications@buckinghamshire.gov.uk.

Share some important information on safely enjoying fireworks from home at www.bucksfire.gov.uk/safety-hub/fireworks/ or check out @BucksCouncil’s social media pages on top tips on how to safely dispose of Fireworks in Bucks.