Students Share Diwali Celebration with Campus Community | PCOM Georgia
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Diwali, the Festival of Lights, Celebrated

November 2, 2022

Students pose dressed in Indian clothing during Diwali celebrationPCOM Georgia students attend the Diwali celebration on campus.

Diwali, “the festival of lights,” observed by more than a billion Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains across the world, was celebrated at PCOM Georgia recently. One of the most important festivals in India, Diwali symbolizes the victory of light over darkness, truth over falsehood, and good over evil.

Music, dancing, do-it-yourself rangoli, mehndi (henna) stations, performances ranging from Bollywood to bhangra, Indian food, mango punch and lights marked the festivities. A large “rangoli” or colorful sand art, which traditionally represents happiness, positivity and liveliness of a household, adorned the Atrium. Of the 120 students, faculty and staff members in attendance, many wore traditional attire—kurtha, salwar, lehenga and sarees—to celebrate the occasion, which spans five days. This year, Diwali was observed from October 22–26.

Students dance during the Diwali celebrationAccording to Sagar Darira (DO ’25), president of the PCOM Georgia Student Government Association and a co-chair of the celebration, Diwali is a special time for Indians throughout the world similar to the festivities surrounding the New Year.

He said, “It is a time of remembering the return of Prince Rama, his wife Sita, and brother Lakshman to Ayodhya after defeating the demon Ravana, and serving 14 years of exile. With his return, the residents of Ayodhya welcomed them back by lighting lamps throughout the city, which is why Diwali is known as the 'festival of lights'.”

Darira added, “Indians around the world celebrate Diwali in many different ways. My family lights 'diyas' (lamps) around our home, decorates with rangolis outside the front door, wears new Indian clothes, makes tons of food, does a pooja (prayer), and spends time with family. It’s also customary to purchase something new for the home, as it is considered a sign of future success,” he said.

“As many of our Indian students are away from family while at school, I know it was important to many to be able to celebrate with the PCOM Georgia family,” he said. Co-chair Pooja Parikh (DO ’25) agreed. “Many of us are not able to be with our families at this important time of year, so to be able to celebrate with our PCOM Georgia family meant so much.”

Darira added, “We were grateful to have the opportunity to be able to share our culture and traditions with the students and faculty at PCOM Georgia.”

An attendee visits the mehndi (henna) stationParikh explained that Diwali always falls on a new moon so the occasion is marked by dispelling the darkness of night with light. She said, “Our goal was to bring everyone together and educate them about Diwali. We hope that the taste of culture (and food) brought people joy and some insight into the meaning of this special occasion!”

Shubha Kayarthadi, PhD, senior associate director of academic success who coordinated the event, started the festivities with the prayer “Asathomaa Sadgamaya” which is sacred to Hinduism, but can be applied to anyone irrespective of the religion one practices.

“From the point of view of students,“ she said, “the significance of Diwali is to remind ourselves that no matter how difficult it is, truth ultimately prevails and to have fortitude which can be drawn from the significance of Diwali.”

Darira said, “We are thankful to all the PCOM Georgia students who put the effort in and took part in the performances. We hoped to share a glimpse of Diwali with our friends and faculty and hope everyone enjoyed the event as much as we did in planning it.”

The event was supported by Student Affairs in collaboration with the Office of Diversity and Community Relations, the Diversity Council and the Student Government Association.

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  • About PCOM Georgia

    Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, a premier osteopathic medical school with a storied history. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences, medical laboratory science, and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service to the wider community. For more information, visit or call 678-225-7500. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center, an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment. For more information, visit

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