United States President Donald Trump celebrated Diwali at the White House on Tuesday by lighting a ceremonial diya (lamp) in the Roosevelt Room.
“Today, we gathered for Diwali, a holiday observed by Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains throughout the United States and around the world. Hundreds of millions of people have gathered with family and friends to light the Diya and to mark the beginning of a New Year,” Trump said.
The US President tweeted after the ceremony saying, “It was my great honor to host a celebration of Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, in the Roosevelt Room at the White House this afternoon. Very, very special people!”
On the day of Diwali, Trump had greeted people celebrating the festival of lights the world over and said it is a special opportunity to reflect on the bond of friendship between India and the United States.
Trump said First Lady Melania joins him in sending their best wishes for a very happy and memorable Diwali.
He also recognised the “extraordinary” contributions of Indian-Americans in the development of the United States.
“We recognize the extraordinary contributions of Indian-Americans to the strength and success of our nation. Their achievements in business and industry, public service, education, scientific research, and other fields continue to represent the very best of our American virtues and the spirit of the Diwali season,” said Trump, who had also celebrated Diwali last year by lighting the ceremonial lamp in the Oval Office.
Asserting that Diwali is a joyous and spiritual time marked by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists, Trump said lighting of lamps on the occasion symbolises the true meaning of Diwali, which is triumph of light over darkness and good over evil.
Earlier, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had said nearly a billion people from around the world will light the lamp “as a reminder that good ultimately overcomes evil, understanding over ignorance, and kindness over animosity”.
“As those celebrating decorate their homes with vibrant lights, I would also like to recognise the achievements of our friends in the United States observing Diwali who make important contributions to our country on a daily basis,” he had said.
Several other top American lawmakers also joined Trump in extending Diwali greetings.
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Watch Trump participating in the Diwali ceremony here: