On September 24, the United States President Donald Trump will celebrate his third Diwali at the White House, three days before the formal celebrations of the “festival of lights” in India. It is President Trump’s third Diwali celebrations at the White House, a tradition that was started by his predecessor former President Barack Obama in 2009.
According to the White House, the US President will participate in the “festival of lights” celebrations by lighting a ceremonial “Diya” on Thursday. However, no other details of the celebrations have yet been revealed.
Donald Trump has first celebrated Diwali at the White House in his Oval Office in 2017 in the presence of a chosen group of Indian-American Community leaders and members of his administration.
In 2018, President Trump has invited the then Indian Ambassador to the US, Navtej Singh Sarna, for the celebration in the Roosevelt Room.
Meanwhile, Diwali celebrations have already started in America. On Saturday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has celebrated the “festival of lights” with the Indian-American Community. He tweets, “We lit Diwali lamps on display in the Governor’s Mansion. We discussed Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi’s visit to Texas. We celebrated the victory of light over darkness.”
Republican Congressman from Texas Pete Olson also tweets: “Celebrating Diwali at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir.”
After lightning the “Diya” in 2017, President Trump has hailed the contribution made by the Indian-American Community in different sectors.
The US President was quoted saying, “You have made extraordinary contributions to art, science, medicine, business, and education. America is especially thankful for its many Indian-American citizens who serve bravely in our armed forces and as first responders in communities throughout our great land.”
In 2017 and 2018 Divali celebrations, the US President has referred to his friendship with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, adding that “the United States has deep ties to the nation of India and I am grateful for my friendship with Prime Minister Modi.”
The US-based non-profit social and cultural Hindu organization has also celebrated Vijaya Dashami at 35 different locations across the nation. More than 7000 youngsters, children, and adults have participated in these celebrations throughout October, said a media release issued by the organization, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangha (HSS).
During the 2019 Vijaya Dashami function in Illinois, Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi was quoted saying, “We need more of the universal values. I hope and pray that all of us subscribe to the idea of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (the world is one family) and that we must take care of the entire family all the time.”
The Hindu Swayamsevak Sangha celebrations included a “Sharirika Pradarshan” (a sports demonstration emphasizing team spirit, synergy, cohesion, and endurance).
Besides Yoga, Indian traditional games like kabaddi and kho-kho, followed by ‘Ghosh Sanchalan’ (marching band) were also part of the function.
The HSS-US Chief Vinod Ambastha has said that “this year, Vijaya Dashami coincidentally falls between October 2 and November 12, the first marking the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and the second the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.”
“Both Guru Nanak and Gandhiji drew inspiration from the same timeless ‘dharmika’ truth that recognizes the divinity of all humanity. Their teachings of compassion, equality, and service resonate loudly and clearly today. HSS members should reflect on these teachings as they continue to care for the welfare of all,” added Mr. Ambastha.