On Monday, the Bidens held the biggest Diwali party the White House has ever seen, with 200 guests. The president lit a ceremonial lamp called a Diya and spoke about the importance of the holiday.
In a speech, President Joe Biden said, “The ongoing story of America is deeply rooted in the Indian American and South Asian American experience.” This is why we’re here today.
The celebration, which is held all over the world by Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs, is meant to show that good won over evil and light won over darkness.
Before he spoke to the crowd of South Asians, Biden asked two small children to join him onstage. “That’s how I feel about light,” he said.
Not until later in the speech did Biden find out that they were the children of Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., one of the few Indian Americans in the House.
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At the ceremony, the president was joined by the first lady, Jill Biden, and the vice president, Kamala Harris. When Harris took the stage to talk about her connection to Diwali, she was greeted with applause.
“The Diwali celebrations I went to as a child were so much fun,” Harris said. “Like many of you, we used to go to India every other year, skipping the monsoon season and celebrating Diwali. My mother would light sparklers for us, and we would parade through the streets to celebrate this important event.
She thought of the holiday as a sign of hope. “Diwali reminds us to see the light in our environment, in each other, and ourselves.”