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Obama First President to Celebrate Diwali in White House

Rediff.com, News Report, Posted: Oct 16, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C.-- Barack Obama has become the first U.S. president to celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights in the White House, reports Rediff.com. The Bush administration also celebrated Diwali, but the function always took place in the Indian Treaty Room, an annex to the White House. Bush himself never attended the function, though a senior member of the administration presided over it. President Obama invited people from various faiths and half a dozen Cabinet members to the East Room of the White House and lit the ceremonial lamp himself. In a statement, the Hindu American Foundation said, "Never before had a sitting U.S. President personally celebrated the Diwali holiday, and with that one gesture, two million Hindu-Americans felt a bit more like they belonged -- one more reason to feel at home."

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