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On Friday, October 28, the White House will celebrate the Diwali holiday with a reception for community leaders and Administration officials. Diwali is observed by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and some Buddhists around the world and here in the United States. It’s marked on the last day of the lunar calendar to celebrate the beginning of a new year. The holiday is also known as the “festival of lights” and a traditional candle – or “Diya” – is lit to symbolize the victory of light over darkness. It’s also an occasion to share what one has with others who are less fortunate. Service – or “seva” – to others is a key value of Diwali. To Sikhs, the holiday harkens back to a 6th century story of freedom for some who were imprisoned because of their faith.
While previous administrations have observed the holiday, President Obama is the first to participate personally each year. He and the First Lady celebrated the holiday in India last year as the Vice President led the commemoration back here in DC.
This year, the Office of Public Engagement would love to hear your stories about Diwali. We invite you to share your favorite Diwali memories with us on Twitter @joncarson44.
From the White House to your house, we join with the President in wishing you and yours a Happy Diwali!
Paul Monteiro is an Associate Director in the Office of Public Engagement.