Tuesday, November 13, 2012

President Obama's Message For Diwali 2012

"We should all recommit ourselves to bring light to any place still facing darkness," President says in global greeting...
President Obama on Tuesday offered holiday greetings to those marking Diwali, the festival of lights celebrated around the world by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists.  In his message, the President said that Diwali is a time for "prayer and reflection" for "those less fortunate," and noted both Hurricane Sandy and the deadly shooting earlier this year at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.  The President has in the past marked Diwali with a reception at the White House, but there is currently no reception planned this year.  In 2010, he celebrated Diwali during his first trip to India (above, with the First Lady at a Diwali candle lighting and performance at Holy Name High School in Mumbai).

"Many who observe this holiday will light the Diya, or lamp, which symbolizes the triumph of light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance," President Obama said.  "As that lamp is lit, we should all recommit ourselves to bring light to any place still facing darkness."

The President's Diwali message: 

"Today, here at home and across the globe, Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists will celebrate the holiday of Diwali – the festival of lights.  Diwali is a time for gathering with family and friends, often marked with good food and dancing.  It is also a time for prayer and reflection about those less fortunate.  It is a testament to the compassion of these communities that so many of them have helped those that have been devastated by Hurricane Sandy.

Many who observe this holiday will light the Diya, or lamp, which symbolizes the triumph of light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. As that lamp is lit, we should all recommit ourselves to bring light to any place still facing darkness.  Earlier this year, we were reminded of the evil that exists in the world when a gunman walked into the Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin and opened fire.  In the wake of that horrible tragedy, we saw the resilience of a community that drew strength from their faith and a sense of solidarity with their neighbors, Sikh and non-Sikh alike.  We also saw compassion and love, in the heroic actions of the first responders and the outpouring of support from people across the country.  Out of a day of sadness, we were reminded that the beauty of America remains our diversity, and our right to religious freedom.
                                  
To those celebrating Diwali, I wish you, your families and loved ones Happy Diwali and Saal Mubarak."

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*Photo by Pete Souza/White House