US President Donald Trump has followed the tradition set by his predecessor Barack Obama in 2009 and lit the light in White House marking the Festival of Lights, an Indian celebration. This was Trump’s third Diwali celebrations at the Oval Office.
“For many Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists in the United States and around the globe, this sacred period is an opportunity to commemorate the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance,” Trump said.
Diwali or the festival of lights is marked by prayers, light diyas and electric lighting with traditional feasts and other festivities which mark reverence to Goddess Lakshmi of wealth among the Indian business classes.
Describing the festival as a symbol of religious liberty, the US President said, “My Administration will continue to defend the rights enshrined in our Constitution that enable people of all faiths to worship according to their beliefs and conscience.”
Trump participated in the first Diwali celebrations at the White House in 2017 with a group of Indian-Americans and last year, the then Indian Ambassador to the US, Navtej Singh Sarna, was present for Diwali celebrations in the Roosevelt room.
The legend goes that Lord Rama and Sita returned to Ayodhya, after 14 years of exile. Diwali coincides with the festival of lights and followed by worship of Goddess Lakshmi. It is celebrated on Amavasya, the darkest day of of the Hindu lunar-solar calendar. Here are some key timings for the pooja this year:
Lagna Puja is on Sunday, October 27, 2019
Kumbha Lagna Muhurat – 2:21 pm to 3:57 pm
Vrishabha Lagna Muhurat (evening) – 7:15 pm to 9:15 pm
Simha Lagna Muhurat (midnight) – 1:41 am to 3:49 am, October 28, 2019
Amavasya Tithi begins – 12:23 pm on October 27, and ends at 9:08 am on October 28, 2019.