US President Donald Trump celebrated Diwali in Oval Office of the White House. Senior Indian-American members of the administration, including Nikki Haley, Seema Verma, and community leaders also joined in. The Hindu festival of lights, Diwali is celebrated every year during the month of October or November. The festival symbolises the victory of good over evil and the triumph of light over darkness. It also symbolises the day when Lord Ram returned to his kingdom in Ayodhya after an exile of 14 years. But the festival is no more restricted to India. Over the years it has got a worldwide recognition and people from around the globe join in the celebration.
In a Facebook post, Trump said, “Today, I was deeply honored to be joined by so many administration officials and leaders of the Indian-American community - to celebrate Diwali -- the Hindu Festival of Lights.” Praising the people of India and our democracy he added that, “I greatly value my very strong relationship with Prime Minister Modi. Diwali is one of the most important celebrations in the Hindu religion. A time of peace and prosperity for the New Year, it is a tradition that is held dear by more than 1 billion Hindus worldwide and more than 2 million Hindus in the United States. It is also celebrated by millions of Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains in America, India and around the world.”
However, the US President celebrating Diwali with the Indo-American society is not something new. It was first started by former US President George Bush when he addressed the American Indians congratulating them on their festival. During his term, it was celebrated mostly in the India Treaty Room of the adjacent executive office building, which is part of the White House Complex.
When Barack Obama was in office, he took the celebrations one step further. The Indians living in the USA had for over two decades campaigned for a Diwali postal stamp. Under Obama, the United States Postal Service (USPS) issued the Diwali stamp which broke all records on the first day of the sale.
Thanks to Mr. President’s constant presence on social media, the festival is just getting all the more attention in the US.