WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama will personally join members of the Asian American community to celebrate Diwali, 'the festival of lights',
at the White House next week.
"At the East Room ceremony, the president will observe Diwali, or the Festival of Lights, a holiday celebrated across faiths on Oct 14," the White House announced on Friday.
While it was former president George W Bush, who started the tradition of celebrating Diwali at the White House, he never personally participated in the celebrations, leaving his top administration officials to grace the occasion.
Also, Diwali was not celebrated in the main White House, but in a building attached to it.
The East Room is usually used for ceremonial occasions. It was here that Bush signed the enabling law for the India-US civil nuclear deal.
The White House also announced that Obama will also sign an Executive Order Oct 14 restoring the White House Advisory Commission and the Interagency Working Group to address the issues concerning the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.