30 Oct 2007, 0918 hrs IST,PTI
WASHINGTON: The US House of Representatives has for the first time passed a resolution recognising the "religious and historical significance" of Diwali.
The House Resolution 747, passed by an overwhelming vote of 358 to 0 (with 66 members abstaining), "is the first time the US Congress has ever passed a resolution in honour of Diwali", said Joe Wilson, the co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans.
"I am pleased that this legislation recognising the religious and historical significance of the festival of Diwali, has been brought to the floor today for consideration," the Republican from South Carolina, who was among the sponsors of the bill, said in a statement.
"Celebrated by the people of India, the Indian Diaspora and the nearly two million Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains in the US, Diwali is a five-day festival held in the fall that celebrates the values of kinship, knowledge, and goodness," Wilson said.
The festival signifies the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. This is commonly represented by individuals lighting oil lamps and placing them outside their homes.
"My resolution acknowledges the international, religious, and historical importance of the festival of Diwali as well as the religious diversity in India, the United States, and throughout the world. It shows our support for the strong and growing partnership and dialogue in international efforts between the United States and India," he said.
Lastly, it recognises the importance of Indian Americans -- a strong and vibrant immigrant community, he added.
Diwali is festival of light, celebrated all over the indian subcontinent by people of various faiths, specially in Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs.