US President Donald Trump will celebrate Diwali at the White House on this Thursday, three days ahead of the formal celebrations of the festival of lights in India.
This would be Trump’s third Diwali celebrations at the White House, a tradition that began with his predecessor Barack Obama in 2009.
According to the White House, Trump will participate in the Diwali celebrations by lighting a ceremonial ‘diya’ (lamp) on Thursday.
No other details of the celebrations were immediately available.
Trump’s first Diwali celebrations at the White House was in his Oval Office in 2017 in the presence of a select group of Indian-American community leaders and members of his administration.
Last year, Trump invited the then Indian Ambassador to the US, Navtej Singh Sarna, for the Diwali celebrations in the Roosevelt room.
Meanwhile, Diwali celebrations have already began in the US. Texas Governor Greg Abbott celebrated Diwali on Saturday with the Indian-American community.
“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,” he said in a tweet.
Tonight we celebrated the Festival of Lights with the Indian-American community in Texas.
We lit Diwali lamps on display in the Governor’s Mansion.
We discussed Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Texas.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) October 21, 2019
Republican Congressman from Texas Pete Olson also tweeted, “Celebrating Diwali at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir.”
In 2017, after lighting the ceremonial ‘diya’, Trump showered the Indian community’s contribution in different fields.
“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,” he said.
Both in 2017 and 2018 Diwali celebrations, Trump referred to his friendship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.