Monday, October 31, 2016

President Obama becomes first President to light diya for Diwali

President Obama lights the die in the Oval Office with some White House staff.

By Louis Chan

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA on Sunday (Oct. 30) became the first president ever to light a diya in the Oval Office.

The President joined Indian/American staff members in the White House for a small celebration.

“I wish you and your loved ones peace and happiness on this Diwali,” said the President in a message sent out on social media.

The post and picture generated 4,400 comments, 209,000 likes and 48,000 shares on Facebook.

Sreejith Vignesh wrote “Not sure the other U.S. presidents will honor us like this. On behalf of each and every Indian, I record here my sincere thanks.”

Nisha Graves said, “As an Indian-born American, I am truly honored! Thank you for acknowledging Diwali - you are a class act! Thank you for acknowledging diversity! Happy Diwali to you!”

Nana Thompson said “This is who we are, Americans! Respect and honor diversity, embrace the good in all faiths, all cultures, and shine the light!”

Obama became the first President ever to celebrate Diwali in 2009, but did not light a diya.

“We recognize that this holiday rejoices in the triumph of good over evil and knowledge over ignorance,” wrote the President in his Facebook post. 

“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. And it’s a time to renew our collective obligation to deepen those bonds, to stand in each other’s shoes and see the world through each other’s eyes, and to embrace each other as brothers and sisters – and as fellow Americans.”