Diwali Celebrated by Millions, Marked by Obama and the Vatican

Image: President Obama Addressees The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Awards Gala
It wasn't until 2009 that the White House hosted its first official Diwali celebration. This week, President Obama released a special message.Getty Images

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Millions of Hindus and others around the world celebrated Diwali this week, the traditional celebration of the triumph of good over evil. On Wednesday, President Obama released a video message sending his greetings to those observing the holiday.

“For Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists, lighting the lamp—the diya—is a chance to remember, even in the midst of darkness, that light will ultimately prevail,” said President Obama in the video posted to the White House’s official YouTube channel.

In 2009, the Obama administration became the first administration to ever celebrate the festival of lights in the White House. First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a Diwali reception last year that featured several South Asian American celebrities and - memorably - the First Lady dancing to Bollywood songs.

Among the other world leaders to issue Diwali greetings was the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue at the Vatican. "May the Transcendent Light illumine your hearts, homes and communities, and and may all your celebrations deepen the sense of belonging to one another in your families and neighbourhoods, and so further harmony and happiness, peace and prosperity," wrote the Council.