Friday, November 16, 2012

Vice President Joe Biden Celebrates Diwali

The Vice President marked the festival of lights with a closed-press reception for members of the Diplomatic Corps, lawmakers, community leaders...
Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday afternoon celebrated the holiday of Diwali on the White House campus with a reception in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. The closed-press party for the festival of lights that is celebrated around the globe by Sikhs, Hindus, Jains and some Buddhists wasn't listed on Biden's official daily schedule, but a post on the White House blog said guests included South Asian American community leaders, elected officials, entrepreneurs, Administration officials, Members of Congress and members of the Diplomatic Corps.  After Biden made remarks to his guests, at the conclusion of the ceremony, as he lit the traditional Diya, an unidentified priest from a local Hindu temple draped a blue shawl around his shoulders. President Obama did not attend the reception, but on Tuesday issued a Diwali greeting.  

No official guest list was released for the party.  The  event was noted on the White House blog in a post written by Danielle Borrin, a Special Assistant in the Office of the Vice President and Associate Director of the Office of Public Engagement.

"On Tuesday afternoon, for the fourth year, the White House celebrated Diwali, a holiday observed annually by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and some Buddhist throughout India and across the world. Known as the “festival of lights,” Diwali offers time for both reflection and celebration. Its stories and rituals focus on the triumph of light over darkness and compassion over hatred. The day signifies the renewal of life and the promise of prosperity for the year to come, " wrote Borrin.  (Above:  The Vice President greets Indian Ambassador to the United States Ambassador Nirupama Rao)

"Bringing together South Asian American community leaders, elected officials, entrepreneurs, and Obama Administration officials, as well as Members of Congress and the Diplomatic Corps, the White House celebration culminated with remarks from Vice President Joe Biden.  In his remarks, the Vice President spoke of the universal resonance of Diwali and asked guests to recommit themselves to providing for those less fortunate.  In closing, the Vice President expressed his wishes for a peaceful and prosperous Diwali and that the lights guide the guests safely home.  At the conclusion of the ceremony, a priest from a local Hindu temple draped a blue shawl around the Vice President’s shoulders as he lit the diya."

*Photos by David Lienemann/White House