Today, President Obama wished a Happy Diwali to all those who celebrate the festival of lights.
In 2009, President Obama became the first U.S. president to celebrate the festival of lights, 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:
I want to wish a Happy Diwali to all those who are celebrating the festival of lights here in the United States and around the world. For Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists, lighting the lamp—the diya—is a chance to remember, even in the midst of darkness, that light will ultimately prevail. Knowledge will defeat ignorance, and compassion will triumph over despair. Diwali is also a reminder that we must each do our part to achieve that victory, by dedicating ourselves to service to others. If we affirm our commitments to one another and strive to lift each other up, then together, we will continue moving closer to that brighter future we all seek.
America is a great and diverse nation, strengthened by the contributions of all our people. I was proud to host the first Diwali celebration at the White House back in 2009. Since then, we’ve continued to mark this holiday to honor the rich traditions that define the American family. And I know Michelle and I will never forget the wonderful time we had celebrating Diwali in Mumbai with food, dancing, and the company of friends.
So, to all the families gathering together this Diwali to reflect on all the blessings of the past year, I wish you a joyous celebration and Saal Mubarak.
Kiran Ahuja is Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Ashley Allison is Associate Director at the White House Office of Public Engagement.