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Obama celebrated Diwali by lighting first-ever diya in the Oval Office

News Agencies | Updated on: 31 October 2016, 13:59 IST
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Photo: PTI

US President Barack Obama celebrated Diwali by lighting the first-ever diya in the Oval Office of the White House and hoped that his successors would continue the tradition. Obama, who was the first president to celebrate Diwali personally at the White House in 2009, talked about the occasion in a Facebook post soon after he lit the diya in his Oval Office with some Indian-Americans working in 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 honoured to kindle the first-ever diya in the Oval Office - a lamp that symbolises 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, which became viral on social media.

By late night it was 'liked' by more than 1.5 lakh people and shared more than 33,000 times.

"On behalf of the entire Obama family, I wish you and your loved ones peace and happiness on this Diwali," Obama said.

"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," said the US President.

"It also speaks to a broader truth about our shared American experience. It's a reminder of what's possible when we see beyond the differences that too often divide us. It's a reflection of the hopes and dreams that bind us together," he said.

 
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