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Obama to attend Diwali reception at White House

October 28, 2011 10:34 IST

United States President Barack Obama will attend a Diwali reception on Friday, the White House has said.

"In the evening, the President will attend a Diwali reception in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building," the White House said on Thursday.

While a Diwali reception at the Eisenhower Executive building, which is part of the White House office complex, was started during the George W Bush administration, Obama was the first US President to attend the celebrations of the festival of lights at the White House.

Last year, Obama celebrated Diwali in Mumbai, during his maiden trip to India.

"I was proud to be the first President to mark Diwali and light the diya at the White House, and last year Michelle and I were honoured to join in Diwali celebrations during our visit to India," Obama said in a statement early this week, in which he greeted people on the occasion of the festival of lights.

"Diwali is a time for gathering with family and friends and -- as we experienced in India -- celebrating with good food and dancing,"  Obama said.

"It is also a time for contemplation and prayer that serves as a reminder of our obligations to our fellow human beings, especially the less fortunate," he said.

Greeting the Indian diaspora around the world on the occasion, Obama said the festival symbolises the victory of light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance.

Lalit K Jha In Washington