Barack Obama, the current US President, has hosted Diwali festivities at the White house. Obama and members from his Democratic Party have greeted the people on the auspicious festival of lights.
In 2009, President Obama became the first President to light the auspicious ‘Diya’, or the oil lamp, which symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Diwali is normally the time of rejoicing for several in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community and across the world.
Obama recollected the time when he visited India along with his wife Michelle and participated in Diwali celebrations along with some children in Mumbai. He opined that Diwali reflects the traditions across continents and cultures. He observed that people from some of the oldest religion—Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism—celebrate the festival by lighting the diya along with family and friends.
He stated that the festival represents the celebration of life’s blessings, the triumph of knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil. He added that the festival is also a time for conducting prayers and reflecting upon obligations to support the less fortunate fellow human beings.
Obama’s message on Diwali was made public by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) two days after Diwali celebrations. Below is the transcript of the President’s video message:
Hi, everybody. On behalf of the entire Obama family, I want to wish you and your families—across America and around the world—a happy Diwali as you celebrate the festival of lights.
I’ve been proud to host Diwali celebrations at the White House—and be the first President to light the Diya in 2009. When Michelle and I visited India, we were able to join in Diwali festivities with some wonderful children in Mumbai. It was a reminder of the traditions we share, across continents and cultures.
Today, Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists – some of the world’s oldest religions - light the Diya with family and friends. You celebrate life’s blessings — the triumph of knowledge over ignorance and good over evil. But Diwali is also a time for prayer and contemplation, to reflect on our obligations to help our fellow human beings, particularly the less fortunate.
So on this Diwali, I wish everyone celebrating the holiday across America and around the world a joyous celebration. Saal Mubarak!