Happy Diwali President Obama!

This year President Obama celebrated Diwali in the White House…

According to a Times of India article: “US President Barack Obama on Wednesday lit a ceremonial Diwali lamp at the White House to ‘symbolize victory of light over darkness.’

Although it was the Bush White House that began celebrating Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, in 2003, Obama became the first President to personally grace the ceremony — a brief affair that began with a rather incongruous performance by the well-regarded Hindi a-capella group Penn Masala, and ended with a Sanskrit invocation by a priest from the local Siva-Vishnu temple.”

According to the post “the White House kept it light and simple” but at least it’s nice to see the US government acknowledging an important cultural festival in the world that is often overlooked in the West.

Too bad I couldn’t read about it in the mainstream US media… not even on my beloved NPR, or in the NY Times… (wait… no, after doing a term search of “Diwali” on the NY Times website I found a brief mention of the ceremony imbedded in two articles about other things. I don’t think that really counts though.)

Anyway… Happy Diwali! –or Tihar if you are Nepali ;)

You can see a longer clip of the White House Diwali observance HERE.

26 responses to “Happy Diwali President Obama!

  1. I didn’t know that the White House celebrates Diwali. Nice! I love the lights in Tihar and it was the best among all festivals while growing up back home (Nepal) =)

  2. Heh. I thought the song that Penn Masala chose to sing, while nice, wasn’t really appropriate for the occasion.

  3. Apparently Target wants us to celebrate Diwali with Dortios and a Two-liter Pepsi!


  4. Totally awesome article

    Go India and America!


    Check out my site http://tennis98.wordpress.com. THANKS!

  5. Hindus around the world appreciate the gesture. It was sweet of President Obama to have been so thoughtful

  6. I learned what diwali is.
    Thank you.

  7. I kind of thought Obama’s rise to power was more of a triumph of darkness over light. Not figuratively of course.

  8. It’s a good thing Diwali day is here, That gives Obama another reason to give a speach like he has every day since he was elected, He has no idea what he’s doing!

  9. Happy Diwali or Tihar.
    Congratulation for Obama for winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

  10. Okay – so you need to watch this if you haven’t!

    “The Office” version of Diwali: http://www.spike.com/video/office-michaels-adam/2783725

    And this

    Hilarious :) I love it.

  11. Rajesh Chaudhary

    I am from Nepal and hindu. We all Hindus from Nepal and India and from all over the world really appreciate Mr. Obama’s message to the world by lightening the candle in White House and being the first president of US to celebrate DIPAWALI or TIHAR or DIWALI — whatever we can call.

  12. I think that we are very fortunate to have a president that is as socially enlightened as Obama.

    It is because of his active participation in this and other similar international observances that the Nobel committe awarded him the Peace Prize.

    Harleigh Kyson Jr.

  13. Happy diwali or tihar to all Indians in America

  14. I have archived your achievement. Good job.


    just 1100 hits for a featured article…it should have been more.

  15. Fabulous. I love this President. The way he reaches “across the aisle” and finds something in everyone’s culture or religion that is good and honest and true and instructional for people across the globe is awesome. Like the Prez, I’m a Christian, but I enjoy sharing my life with people of all kinds of faith, even some with no spiritual beliefs at all. I don’t see anything in the teachings of Jesus that instructs me to harm or disparage anyone. Rather I see a message that says welcome people with love, live a life of honesty, peace, and doing good, and then turn the other cheek when I have to. If you ask me, that’s the President’s version of Christianity. The folks on Fox News say they are Christians all day long, but what they are doing, I don’t know. They sure aren’t bringing light into a world of darkness. So Happy Diwali everyone! This was a great article. Thank you for sharing!

  16. This is just awesome. I totally agree with you, OldNeighbour.

  17. Now that is cool. I’ve never heard of Diwali, but I like what it is and what it represents. And that was a great message from President Obama.

  18. great 2 know that this included ancient sanskrit verses all well…..and here in nepal…some guys r trying to ban this language…well times r changing….just depends where you are living!

  19. I liked the message. Thank you for let me know about Diwali Celebration.

  20. Why is Obama getting credit for this when it clearly says that Bush has been celebrating Diwali since 2003? It’s not like he’s some enlightened hero that just came up with this idea.

    Regardless, it’s a nice gesture.

  21. danm, it says in the article that Bush brought Diwali to the White House– But Obama is the first Prez. to personally grace the event. In other words, Bush never personally showed up at any Diwali events. Ya know, I think it’s nice if someone lets you use “their” space while they’re away. But it really says something if they let you use “their” space, AND come hang out with you, enjoy your company, maybe break bread with you, etc., you know what I mean? And I don’t think anyone’s saying Obama is some kind of hero over this, any more than he’s a hero for being a good dad and husband, or any of the other decent, kind or respectful things he does. I hate to agree with the Rethuglicans, but Obama is a bit of a celebrity. People like to watch what he does. What a person actually does usually says more about them than the words they speak.


  22. Ooops. I have to take it back– he IS a hero! I just watched the White House Diwali Clip linked above, and saw the President light the Diya. For a Christian President to take even the smallest, active participation in a different religion is akin to committing political suicide. Obama is crazy, brave. Simply because of this clip, I don’t expect for Obama to be able to win a second term. The Rethuglicans will use this as proof that he is not a “REAL” Christian. Oh well. I still think he’s awesome, and the world will be better off for having him as President, even if it only lasts for one term. After GWB, we needed a Prez. like this.


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