US President Donald Trump extends his greetings to all celebrating Diwali, saying relations are “strengthened by sacred traditions”.
President Donald Trump on Thursday marked the coming fall festival of Diwali in the Oval Office with the ceremonial lighting of the Diya, a traditional oil lamp used to decorate houses during the holiday.
Diwali, also known as the Indian festival of lights, is largely celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists every autumn. It’s one of India’s most widely-celebrated holidays and represents light overcoming darkness.
Thursday’s White House ceremony, which was closed to reporters and cameras, took place three days ahead of the formal celebration, which begins on Oct. 27 in India and lasts four to five days.
“Today, we gathered for Diwali, a holiday observed by Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains throughout the United States & around the world. Hundreds of millions of people have gathered with family & friends to light the Diya and to mark the beginning of a New Year,” he said in a message.
In a caption to a video shared on his Twitter handle showing him lighting the lamp in the Oval Office (Diya) along with a group of Indian-Americans, Trump wrote: “As Diwali commences, @FLOTUS Melania and I wish those observing the Festival of Lights a blessed and happy celebration! #HappyDiwali”, ending it with a ‘diya’ emoji.
In the video message, he said: “As we light the Diya here today, we know that our relation strengthened by the sacred traditions that bid the people together across your land made us light. May this light bring hope to all and may everyone have a wonderful Diwali.”
The Indian diaspora in the US has a significant presence, and at the recent, “Howdy, Modi!” event in Texas, President Trump shared the stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.