The Indian festival of lights, called Diwali, was celebrated on Sunday in India and also in other parts of the world with lighting oil lamps, known as diyas, and candles, along with fireworks displays. Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains all celebrate Diwali, which is also called Deepavali. The festival symbolizes the victory of knowledge over ignorance and good over evil. The day also honors the return of Hindu god Lord Rama to his kingdom after years of exile. Indians celebrate the day with their friends and families by enjoying sweets and exchanging gifts. The festival is not only celebrated in India, but also in other parts of the world.
On Sunday, U.S. President Barack Obama issued a statement.
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 recognize that this holiday rejoices in the triumph of good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. 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. 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. 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. On behalf of the entire Obama family, I wish you and your loved ones peace and happiness on this Diwali.