Hi I am Mr Sanjoy Bhattacharyya, and I am a Consultant in the Emergency Department/Urgent Care Centre at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, and have been in this role for more than 25 years.

I was born in Calcutta India, and studied and then qualified as a doctor from Calcutta Medical College in 1984. I worked for 3 years and then came to UK to pursue my post graduate studies in 1987. I was training as a surgeon before I embarked in training in Emergency Medicine in 1993. After finishing the training, I took up a Consultant post in A&E at Burnley General Hospital and worked in this role for 10 years before Burnley General Hospital and Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital merged to form ELHT.

To me Diwali (also called Deepawali – meaning row of lights) is the festival of Lights. It is celebration of good winning over evil. As a practising Bengali Hindu we worship Goddess Kali (Goddess of destroyer of evil). Some Bengalis and in North India Goddess Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth) is worshipped too.  It also signifies Lord Rama returning to Ayoddha with Sita after defeating the evil Ravana. Prayers are offered to deities. Dias(light) are lighted and placed at the entrance to the house to direct Goddess Lakshmi to enter the house to bless all with peace, wealth and prosperity.

When Diwali arrives, new clothes are worn by those celebrating. The males wear traditional clothing called kurta pyjama, whilst the females wear a traditional sari, salwar kameez or ghagra. Different traditional sweets are eaten of along with food items such as puri/sabji.

We celebrate this festival with family and friends, regardless of their religion or caste. Rangoli (beautiful designs with colour powders and flowers) are placed at the entrances of homes to welcome our Goddess Lakshmi, gifts are exchanged, and we also then gather in temples (Mandirs) and  watch fireworks to celebrate. Growing up in India, my earliest memories of Diwali is celebrating in our local community offering prayers to Goddess Kali, eating sweets, and celebrating with fireworks. In UK I celebrate by other visiting the local temple to offer prayers.

I will be working this Diwali, but would like to wish Happy Diwali to my colleagues and the wider community. Thank you for reading my blog, and stay safe.