US President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris extended wishes to people on the occasion of Diwali and said that hopefully next year the festival will be celebrated at the White House in person. “On behalf of our families, we wish a happy Diwali to Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists, and everyone celebrating the festival of lights across the United States, India, and the world. Like so many cherished traditions during the pandemic, we know this year’s Diwali and its symbolizing of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and empathy over apathy arrives with a deeper meaning,” read the joint statement issued by Biden and Harris.

As the world struggles to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, they said, “Our hearts go out to everyone who is ushering in this new year with the recent loss of a loved one, or who finds themselves fallen on hard times. Our prayers remain with everyone fighting the pandemic on the frontlines instead of staying safe at home in prayer with their families. And, we know the sadness of being apart on a day that truly signifies the blessing of family and friendship.”

“But Diwali is ultimately a reminder of the light that’s within us all to hope and dream, and to overcome our differences and keep the faith in each other. That’s the light we see shining on this day and that will guide us through the darkness with knowledge, science, truth, unity, and compassion,” they further said.

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“And that’s why as Diwali is celebrated via video calls and while socially distanced this year, we look forward to celebrating Diwali at the White House next year — in person, together with you, and in a nation healed and united,” they added.

It is believed that on this day Lord Rama (the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu) returned from a 14-year-long exile, during which he fought and won a battle against the demon king Ravana.

People across India and around the world celebrate the festival by decorating their houses, exchanging gifts, and offering prayers in order to commemorate the “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance”.

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