The United Nations (UN) recently observed Diwali for the first time and lit up its imposing headquarters on the Indian festival of lights from October 29-31. The UN headquarters porch was lit up in bright colours, reading 'Happy Diwali', along with the image of a traditional ‘Diya’, projected onto the building. Diwali greetings were beamed on to the facade of the UN building on the Deewali night as it turned purple for Diwali.
"Lighting up. @UN lights up for #Diwali for 1st time….Happy Diwali! @UN celebrates Diwali for 1st time. Thank you @UN_PGA for this initiative”, tweeted Syed Akbaruddin, India’s Ambassador to the UN tweeting his thanks to the UN. The General Assembly President Peter Thomson, also reverted tweeting a picture of the UN building lit up, and he said “Light over Darkness, hope over despair, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil – the UN lights up – Happy Diwali”.
Importantly, on December 29, 2014, the United Nations General Assembly, acknowledging the significance of Diwali, adopted a resolution to avoid holding meetings on this day. From 2016 onward, Diwali was made an optional holiday for the UN.