WASHINGTON, November 16, 2012 (Oman Tribune): US Vice-President Joe Biden joined a select group of Indian-American officials, community members and diplomats at this year's Diwali celebrations at the White House. During the White House celebration of festival of lights, Biden spoke of the universal resonance of Diwali and asked guests to commit 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," wrote Danielle Borrin, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Deputy Director of Office of Public Engagement in the Office of the Vice-President, on the White House blog.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, which was closed for the press, a priest from a local Hindu temple draped a blue shawl around Biden's shoulders as he lit the diya. Diwali celebrations in the White House were started by George W. Bush, but he never personally participated in the celebrations, leaving his top administration officials to grace the occasion.
In 2009, Barack Obama was the first US President to have lit the traditional lamp in the East Room of the White House. In 2010, Obama celebrated Diwali in Mumbai. Last year, Obama attended the Diwali celebrations and reception at the Eisenhower Executive building of the White House. Sending Diwali greetings to people, Obama noted that the festival symbolises the triumph of light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance.