This is our updated blog for 2023 on workplace engagement for Diwali. Diwali this year will start on the 12th of November and as it's a widely celebrated festival for several religions you will likely find you have employees who will be observing. Diwali festival has become one of the world's most significant religious observances, and people in over 90 countries celebrate accounting for approximately 15% of the global population.
What Is Diwali?
If you aren't already familiar with the background of Diwali - now is a great time to learn more. With the celebration lasting 5 days, people may request annual leave or special considerations during this time. This festival offers a perfect opportunity to learn more about your team members, build relationships and update your knowledge of the world and people around you!
While the exact date changes yearly based on the Hindu lunar calendar, Diwali essentially celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, and good over evil. Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and some Buddhists worldwide observe the festival of light.
In the run-up to the festival, preparations such as cleaning, renovating, and decorating homes and workplaces with diyas (oil lamps) and intricate rangolis (colourful art circle patterns) will take place. During Diwali, those celebrating may wear their finest clothes, light up their homes, share family feasts, participate in worship and enjoy fireworks, sweets and gifts.
Show Support to Your Celebrating Team Members
Form a Steering Committee to Organise Activities and Events
The best starting point to create engagement is to suggest the formation of a SteerCo to organise and lead events throughout the year for important social, tradional and religious events including the Diwali festival.
Encourage those observing the festival to share how they would prefer to celebrate and those not observing to get involved and learn. Make it inclusive for all and fun!
Enjoying celebrations will create better connections across teams and departments and promote inclusivity and diversity within your workplace.
Share Resources to Learn More About the Diwali Festival
When it comes to creating engagement around cultural celebrations, education is key. Provide resources and opportunities for your workplace staff to understand what Diwali is and why it's important to those celebrating the festival. Many people fear what they do not know so hosting a talk to help staff understand the importance of the Diwali festival and drive engagement can be an excellent starting point. Be sure to follow up any talks with space for questions and open conversations.
A quiz is always fun to engage people and get them thinking about something other than work for a while! Plus, it's a quick and easy way to share learning.
Host a Special Diwali Lunch
A lunch is a great way to encourage team members to share their favourite traditional Diwali dishes. This will give everyone a chance to sample new foods, as well as an opportunity for people to learn more about each other's cultures and traditions. You could decorate the lunch area with Diwali decorations or set up a "make your own rangoli" station to make things even more festive.
Encourage Traditional and Ethnic Attire
Clothing worn during Diwali reflects the joy of the celebration, with bright colours at the forefront. As one of the biggest Hindu festivals, it is a time when many people will be looking their best. Encourage those observing the festival to wear sarees or kurtas should they wish and the rest of the team to wear their favourite bright colours in support. Inclusivity is about individuals being able to bring their whole selves into work.
Organise a Diwali Gift Exchange
A Diwali gift exchange is another great way to get everyone involved in the festivities. This activity is thoughtful and can help staff members get to know each other better, building team relationships.
Support Employees Celebrating Diwali
Creating a sense of belonging by celebrating everyones culture will build you more robust and more cohesive teams. By taking the time to celebrate Diwali, you're sending the message that you value and respect traditions and cultures. Use your imagination and get creative!
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