Diwali for Hindus as Tulsi elected to US Congress
Washington: For the Hindu community in the US - constituting about half a per cent of the nation's population - this year's Diwali is special as for the first time someone from this faith has been elected to the US Congress.
"Aloha! Last Tuesday I had the honour and privilege of being the first ever Hindu elected to the United States Congress," Congresswoman-elect Tulsi Gabbard, 31, said in a Diwali video message to the country's Hindu community.
On November 6, she was elected for the US House of Representatives, from the Second Congressional District of Hawaii, on a Democratic ticket.
Hawaii, the birth place of US President Barack Obama, made another history this general election by electing the first ever Buddhist to the United States Senate.
"I am honoured to send you my warmest Aloha and wish you and your family a happy Diwali today," she said in her video message of about two minutes.
"As you know, Diwali is not a fun holiday; but it also represents the victory of truth over untruth, of righteousness over wrong. While this is the time of celebration, this deeper meaning of Diwali could not come at a more appropriate time.
As we put the campaigns and election year behind us, it's time now for all of us to come together, setting aside our differences and find ways to work together, towards greater and common good," she said.
Gabbard, born in American Samoa to a Catholic father (Hawaii State Senator Mike Gabbard) and a Hindu mother, in her Diwali message said it is time for the community to remember that true happiness and true success comes through being of service to others and not just living for yourself.
"The lighting of the lamps on Diwali continues the longstanding tradition and reflection on the year that is behind us and pray for the year coming ahead," Gabbard said as the entire Hindu community across the country was celebrating the festival of lights.
The White House is celebrating the festival of lights today. In 2009, Obama, was the first US President, to have lit the traditional lamp in the East Room of the White House.
Diwali celebrations in the White House were started by George W Bush, but the former US President never personally participated in the celebrations, leaving his top administration officials to grace the occasion.
In 2010, Obama celebrated Diwali in India. Last year, Obama attended the Diwali celebrations and reception at the Eisenhower Executive building of the White House.
So far the White House hasn't announced if the President would grace the occasion, as there is no mention of it in his today's schedule released by his office.