Employees from diverse backgrounds wrapped themselves in vibrantly colored Indian clothes for the Diwali celebration on Nov. 10, hosted by Cincinnati Children’s Asian Cultural and Professional Group.

Krupa Hegde performing classical Indian dance
Krupa Hegde performing classical Indian dance

Gajra Arya, applications specialist for the Division of Biomedical Informatics, helped organize the event and took part in a demonstration to educate the audience on Indian clothing.

“During my 28 years at Cincinnati Children’s, I have tried to share the flavor of India with the Cincinnati Children’s community,” Gajra says. “With support from my division, I continue to serve in that capacity and encourage new volunteers to actively participate and present Indian culture and values.”

Diwali celebrates the triumph of good over evil, and worships Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and prosperity. This popular Hindu festival is celebrated by decorating with oil lamps.

Dr. Richard Lang and Dr. Rashmi Hegde lighting the CCHMC lamp for Diwali 2018
Richard Lang, PhD and Rashmi Hegde, PhD lighting the CCHMC lamp for Diwali 2018

Shital Parikh, MD, PhD, an associate professor in Orthopedics, emceed the event and gave a very informative talk on India and its culture.  Richard Lang, PhD and Dr. Rashmi Hegde, PhD lit the ceremonial Cincinnati Children’s Diwali lamp this year. 

Gajra Arya and Vijaya Chaturvedi educating the audience on Indian clothing
Vijaya Chaturvedi (left) and Gajra Arya educating the audience on Indian clothing

Performances included traditional Indian classical dances by Krupa Hegde, Anika Nattamai, and Pranathi Madala; a capella singing by Junoon of University of Cincinnati; and recital and demonstration of traditional Indian drums “Tabla” by Om Srivastava.

UC acapella group Junoon performing
University of Cincinnati a capella group Junoon performing

“As a clinical provider, I appreciated the educational topics like ‘clearing the misconceptions’ in the Diwali presentations,” says Chinmayee B. Nagaraj, LGC, a genetic counselor in the Division of Human Genetics. “These certainly help develop cultural competence, both toward colleagues and our patients. I felt a sense of pride and belonging to our wonderful hospital for embracing diversity with such zest.” 

Sweets were the highlight of this year's Diwali food
Sweets were the highlight of this year’s Diwali food

The Diwali celebration included delicious Indian snacks, entrees, bread, a variety of traditional sweets, and decorative lamps (diya) as gifts for the attendees.  Volunteers from several departments came together and helped with pickup & deliveries, decorations, making slides, compiling music, serving food, applying henna, capturing pictures, answering questions, and helping however they could.

By working together, a glimpse of India was presented to the Cincinnati Children’s community. 

Diwali celebration brings the colors of India to Cincinnati Children’s
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