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Obama lights diya in Oval office, celebrates last Diwali as US President

Washington, Oct 31 (IANS) US President Barack Obama celebrated Diwali by lighting the first-ever diya in his Oval office at the White House. It was his last Diwali as US President and he hoped his successors would continue the tradition.

“This year, I was honoured to kindle the first-ever diya in the Oval Office — a lamp that symbolizes how darkness will always be overcome by light,” he said, according to a statement issued by the Embassy of US in India.

“It is a tradition that I hope future Presidents will continue,” he added.

On behalf of the entire Obama family, the US President said: “I wish you and your loved ones peace and happiness on this Diwali,” Obama posted on his official Facebook page (@potus), along with a picture of him lighting the diya, surrounded by a group of young Indian-Americans.

The post became viral on social media as it got over 23,000 likes and it was shared more than 11,000 times.

Obama is the first US President to celebrate Diwali personally in the White House since 2009.

“I was proud to be the first President to host a Diwali celebration at the White House in 2009, and Michelle and I will never forget how the people of India welcomed us with open arms and hearts and danced with us in Mumbai on Diwali,” he said.

Obama has sent his greetings to all those celebrating Diwali across America and around the world.

“As Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists light the diya, share in prayers, decorate their homes, and open their doors to host and feast with loved ones, we recognize that this holiday rejoices in the triumph of good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. It also speaks to a broader truth about our shared American experience,” said Obama.

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