US First Lady Michelle Obama lit a diya in the East room to start White House Diwali celebrations after trying out some Bollywood dance moves with some local students in the State Dining Room.
“We’ve celebrated this holiday here at the White House every year since (President) Barack Obama took office. And there’s a reason why we’ve done that,” she said welcoming guests including members of the Indian community and Indian-American officials Tuesday. “We got to practice a little Bollywood this afternoon,” Michelle Obama said. “And, of course, as you all know, I think I can dance,” she proudly informed her guests amidst laughter. “But not as good as they can dance. But we had a wonderful time.”
“It was the first time that we did Bollywood in the State Room here at the White House,” said the First Lady who had joined a dance number during Diwali celebrations in Mumbai during Obamas’ India visit in November 2010. “It’s (Diwali) a time to come together with friends and family, often with dancing and good food,” said Michelle Obama noting Diwali is celebrated by members of some of the world’s oldest religions not just here in America but across the globe. “But Diwali is also a time for contemplation and reflection. It’s a time for us to think about our obligations to our fellow human beings, particularly those who are less fortunate than we are,” she said.
“And as we light the diya-the lamp-we recommit ourselves to the triumph of light over darkness, of good over evil,” she said recalling the shooting tragedy at a Sikh Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin last year “when an act of unthinkable violence shook a community to its core.”
“I am so proud and so honoured to be celebrating this beautiful holiday at the White House with all of you,” the First Lady told guests. “And I wish you all and all your loved ones a Happy Diwali and Saal Mubarak.”