US president Joe Biden, vice president Kamala Harris greet on Diwali
US president Joe Biden and vice president Kamala Harris (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
US PRESIDENT Joe Biden and vice president Kamala Harris on Thursday (4) greeted people across the world on the occasion of Diwali, a popular Hindu festival of lights which is celebrated the world over, saying the festival, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, carries a deeper meaning and reminds everyone that form darkness, there is knowledge, wisdom and truth.
Biden, who is serving his first year in office, posted on Twitter a picture of him lighting ‘diyas’ (earthen lamps) along with first lady Jill Biden at the White House.
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“May the light of Diwali remind us that from darkness there is knowledge, wisdom, and truth. From division, unity. From despair, hope. To Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists celebrating in America and around the world — from the People’s House to yours, happy Diwali,” he said in the tweet.
In a joint statement, the Bidens said in the wake of the pandemic, this year’s Diwali carries even a deeper meaning.
“It is our honor to be the first president and first lady to light a ‘diya‘ together in the White House to celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights that is observed by more than one billion Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists in the United States, India, and around the world,” they said.
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“Like many cherished holidays during the pandemic, we know this year’s Diwali carries an even deeper meaning. To those who have lost loved ones, we hope this sacred time provides comfort and purpose in their memory,” they said in the joint statement.
The first couple also said they were grateful to those who celebrate Diwali in the US, saying they made the traditions of Diwali part of the country’s story.
“For generations, you have opened your homes and hearts during Diwali to exchange gifts and sweets, host feasts with family and friends, and organise cultural programmes in our communities – with prayers and dances, vibrant and colorful art, and sparklers and fireworks – that bring us all together,” they said.
“May the spirit of Diwali remind us that out of darkness there is light in knowledge, wisdom, and truth. From division, there is unity in common bonds of empathy and compassion. From isolation, there is community in the connections we share as we look out for one another and hope, dream, and believe in possibilities,” the statement added.
“That spirit is what we reflected upon in the simple act of lighting a diya, a small candle that carries such profound meaning. From the People’s House to yours, may the light shine within us all as a powerful source of healing, repair, and renewal – a light that shines on who we are and what we can be at our best as a people and a nation. On behalf of our family, we wish you a happy Diwali,” they said.
Harris posted a video message in which she wished all Americans and people across the world on the occasion of Diwali. The Democratic leader also noted that in 2021, Diwali carries a deeper meaning in the wake of the pandemic which has wreaked havoc across the globe.
“I want to extend my warmest wishes for a happy Diwali to everyone celebrating the festival of lights here in the United States and around the world. This year Diwali arrives with even deeper meaning in the midst of a devastating pandemic,” Harris, the US’s first woman vice president, said in a video message.
“The holiday reminds us of our nation’s most sacred values, our gratitude for the love of family and friends, our responsibility to lend a hand to those in need and our strength to choose light over darkness, to seek knowledge and wisdom and to be a source of goodness and grace,” the leader, who is also of Indian descent, added.
“Let’s remember to honour the light within one another. From our family to yours, I wish you a joyous Diwali,” she said.