WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — U.S. President Barack Obama celebrated Diwali on Sunday, he lit the first-ever Diya in the Oval Office of the White House, saying he hopes those who occupy the office after him make the tradition annual.
It’s not the first precedent Obama has set during Diwali season in Washington — in 2009, he became the first president to celebrate the festival in the White House. The Diya was lit during a ceremony in the Oval Office alongside Indian-American members of his administration.
“I was proud to be the first President to host a Diwali celebration at the White House in 2009, and Michelle and I will never forget how the people of India welcomed us with open arms and hearts and danced with us in Mumbai on Diwali,” Obama said.
“This year, I was honored to kindle the first-ever Diya in the Oval Office — a lamp that symbolizes how darkness will always be overcome by light. It is a tradition that I hope future Presidents will continue,” Obama said on the White House Facebook page.
“On behalf of the entire Obama family, I wish you and your loved ones peace and happiness on this Diwali.
“To all who are celebrating the festival of lights across America and around the world, happy Diwali. As Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists light the diya, share in prayers, decorate their homes, and open their doors to host and feast with loved ones, we recognise that this holiday rejoices in the triumph of good over evil and knowledge over ignorance,” he added.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who has scores of support from the Indian-American community, greeted Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains across the world on the occasion of Diwali.
“On Sunday, nearly a billion Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists around the world — including more than two million Americans — will celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights. For members of these faiths, lighting the lamp (the diya) is a reminder that light prevails over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil,” Clinton said.