the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by the President on the Observance of Diwali

Today, here in America and around the world, Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists will celebrate the holiday of Diwali – the festival of lights.  Many who observe this holiday do so by lighting the Diya, or lamp, which symbolizes the victory of light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance.  I was proud to be the first President to mark Diwali and light the Diya at the White House, and last year Michelle and I were honored to join in Diwali celebrations during our visit to India.

Diwali is a time for gathering with family and friends and—as we experienced in India—celebrating with good food and dancing.  It is also a time for contemplation and prayer that serves as a reminder of our obligations to our fellow human beings, especially the less fortunate.  To all who are observing this sacred holiday here and around the world, Happy Diwali and Saal Mubarak.