ASX had a fantastic Diwali celebration: The Australian Securities Exchange had a Diwali celebration this week, making it the seventh year in a row. The place was filled with henna, performances, and lots of garlands, even one hanging from their famous bell. It was a warm gathering organized by the Culture and Heritage Employee Networking Group.
Held in the ASX building in Circular Quay, Sydney, 250 employees from different backgrounds and cultures came together. They were encouraged to wear something colorful, ditching their usual work clothes for red saris, yellow kurta pajamas, and pink salwar kameez.
This dress code applied to everyone, no matter what other commitments they had. ASX CEO Helen Lofthouse even joked in her opening speech, “I’ve already had a meeting with a CEO in my sari!” The ASX started celebrating Diwali seven years ago, and now it’s a regular part of their calendar, alongside NAIDOC Week, Anzac Day, and Lunar New Year.
ASX had a fantastic Diwali celebration!
The Culture and Heritage Employee Networking Group, led by Sanjay Mistry and Manjula Shirwaiker, puts it all together. Mistry proudly mentioned that the event happened “even during COVID,” and Shirwaiker was happy to see how it brought people together.
“It’s about people wanting to know about each other,” Shirwaiker told Indian Link. “They see it as a time to come together, celebrate, and make connections. Cultural heritage is about making those connections, and when you connect better, you work better. You also become friends more than colleagues, breaking down barriers.”
For many attendees, the highlight was the invitation to dance. After performances by the Nartan Institute of Performing Arts, they called on the crowd to join. People hesitated at first, not sure who would step up. But soon, a brave few responded, and with Bollywood music playing, the room lit up. The dancing had a ’90s Shah Rukh Khan film vibe, breaking down barriers in a unique Diwali way.
The event space eventually divided into three parts: food on the left, the dance floor in the center, and a photobooth and henna station on the right. But despite this separation, there was a strong sense of unity. Diwali, once celebrated mainly by the Indian community, now showed that it’s for everyone. It’s a chance to come together, bond, and celebrate the idea that light can triumph over darkness.
As the ASX event proved, that celebration can and should happen in the workplace, complete with dance and festive clothing.