Hospital employees gathered in the East Garden Room Nov. 8 to rejoice and wish each other a happy Diwali. Known as the festival of lights, Diwali is observed by Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains and is the most widely celebrated Hindu festival worldwide.

The MGH event, hosted by Human Resources, was started in 2012 by Dinesh Patel, MD, chief emeritus of Arthroscopic Surgery in the Department of Orthopædics.

“I have been at MGH for more than 50 years and have observed that our leadership has encouraged, with open arms, the inclusion of diversity with great warmth,” Patel says. “I noticed there have been increasing numbers of people working at MGH from all sectors who believed in Diwali celebrations. So to continue that inclusion of diversity, I inquired about such celebrations and was not surprised that they warmly accepted.”

Diwali is celebrated for five days by millions of people all over the world. The festival ends at the start of the Hindu New Year and includes food, traditions – such as showing respect to elders and children receiving presents – cleansing of the spirit and material things, and cleaning one’s home. The festival is a joyous one, emphasizing a new day and making room for kindness.

“I am grateful to MGH to promote celebrations like this,” says Dhanviney Verma, MD, MGH psychiatrist. “It not only shows respect for different belief systems, it’s a great way to promote team spirit and inclusiveness among folks across our hospital.”

Mandakolathur Murali, MD, director of the Clinical Immunology Lab, says he believes Diwali means choosing good over evil. “Diwali is a day of rejoicing,” he says. “All bad things must come to an end. It means brightness and knowledge will win over darkness. It is a new day and we celebrate the sun.”

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