Today, President Obama wishes all those celebrating here and abroad a happy Diwali, also known as the festival of lights.
In 2009, President Obama was the first President to light the Diya, or oil lamp, which symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Diwali is a time of rejoicing for many in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community and across the world.
Below is the transcript of the President’s video message:
Hi, everybody. On behalf of the entire Obama family, I want to wish you and your families—across America and around the world—a happy Diwali as you celebrate the festival of lights.
I’ve been proud to host Diwali celebrations at the White House—and be the first President to light the Diya in 2009. When Michelle and I visited India, we were able to join in Diwali festivities with some wonderful children in Mumbai. It was a reminder of the traditions we share, across continents and cultures.
Today, Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists – some of the world’s oldest religions – light the Diya with family and friends. You celebrate life’s blessings — the triumph of knowledge over ignorance and good over evil. But Diwali is also a time for prayer and contemplation, to reflect on our obligations to help our fellow human beings, particularly the less fortunate.
So on this Diwali, I wish everyone celebrating the holiday across America and around the world a joyous celebration. Saal Mubarak.
Aditi Hardikar is an Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.