Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Saturday extended wishes on the occasion of Diwali and said the festival is a reminder that all must dedicate themselves to overcome every challenge as a community. Taking to Twitter, Rajapaksa said: “Happy #Deepavali to those celebrating the Festival of Lights in #lka (Sri Lankan) and around the world. Lighting a lamp at this joyous occasion symbolizes the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. Have a happy, safe and peaceful Deepavali.”

“Deepavali is also a reminder that we must dedicate ourselves to overcome every challenge together as a community. It is through unity that we can defeat ignorance and ensure that compassion prevails in our heart. As we strive to overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic together, we must also strive to uplift each other and ensure our shared quest of a bright and peaceful future for Sri Lanka is realised,” he said in a Diwali message.

Diwali is observed on the 15th day of Kartik, the holiest month in the Hindu lunar calendar and 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.

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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”.