U.S. Senator Chris Coons of Delaware

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, November 16, 2012
CONTACT: Ian Koski at 202-224-4216

Senator Coons celebrates Diwali with Senate resolution

WILMINGTON, Del.  – U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) joined two of his colleagues this week in introducing a bipartisan resolution to honor and celebrate the Indian festival of Diwali.

“In an uncertain time for our country and our world, the festival of Diwali is a welcome reminder of the power each of us has to bring light to our community,” Senator Coons said. “As we reflect on the last year and look forward to another, Diwali is an opportunity for all of us — not only our Indian and South Asian neighbors — to come together to celebrate the power of good over evil, and warm in the triumph of light over the darkness. When a gunman opened fire on innocent Americans at a Sikh gurdwara in Wisconsin in August, so many around our nation, including here in Delaware, came together to show that their bond of faith and community is stronger than a single hideous act. Diwali reminds us that our light can always overcome the darkness, and I’m pleased to be able to join my Senate colleagues in proclaiming so in this resolution.”

U.S. Senators Mark Warner (D-Va.) and John Cornyn (R-TX), both co-chairs of the U.S. Senate’s bipartisan Indian Caucus, were the lead sponsors of the resolution.

The resolution is available here and the text follows:

Recognizing the religious and historical significance of the festival of Diwali.

Whereas Diwali, a festival of great significance to Indian Americans and South Asian Americans, is celebrated annually by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains throughout India, the United States, and the world;

Whereas Diwali is a festival of lights that marks the beginning of the Hindu new year, during which celebrants light small oil lamps, place the lamps around the home, and pray for health, knowledge, peace, wealth, and prosperity in the new year;

Whereas the lights symbolize the light of knowledge within the individual that overwhelms the darkness of ignorance, empowering each celebrant to do good deeds and show compassion to others;

Whereas Diwali falls on the last day of the last month in the lunar calendar and is celebrated as a day of thanksgiving for the homecoming of the Lord Rama and worship of Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles and bestower of blessings, at the beginning of the new year for many Hindus;

Whereas, for Sikhs, Diwali is celebrated as Bandhi Chhor Diwas (The Celebration of Freedom), in honor of the release from prison of the sixth guru, Guru Hargobind; and

Whereas, for Jains, Diwali marks the anniversary of the attainment of moksha, or liberation, by Mahavira, the last of the Tirthankaras (the great teachers of Jain dharma), at the end of his life in 527 B.C.: Now, therefore, be it resolved, That the Senate

(1)    recognizes the religious and historical significance of the festival of Diwali; and

(2)    in observance of Diwali, the festival of lights, expresses its deepest respect for Indian Americans and South Asian Americans, as well as fellow countrymen and diaspora throughout the world on this significant occasion.

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