Diwali celebrated at Downing Street

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British Sikhs and Hindus prepare to mark festival of light

THE Prime Minister lit a candle to mark Diwali at a Downing Street reception today.

Members of the Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist communities were invited to Number 10 to celebrate the occasion, known as the Festival of Lights, which promotes messages of hope and togetherness.

The PM said he looked forward to holding a Diwali reception every year and thanked the guests for their huge cultural and economic contribution to British life.

After his speech, the PM was presented with a garland and a model of the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir, popularly known as the Neasden Temple, in north London.

 “As people come together for the beginning of Diwali, the Festival of Lights, we all have the opportunity to reflect on the year that has passed, and to face the future with renewed hope – as the story of Rama and Sita and how good betters evil is brought alive once again,” the PM said.

“From Dhanteras to Bhai Dooj, over the coming five days your homes will be filled with light and celebrations – and our thoughts will be with you all. Diwali’s messages of hope and togetherness bind Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist communities here and around the world, and should be a source of inspiration and reflection for us all.

“I send my warmest good wishes to you all for a peaceful and joyous Diwali.”

Diwali messages were also extended by Conservative Party leader David Cameron, and Nick Clegg, leader of the Lib Dems.

Mr Cameron described Diwali as a “great celebration”, while Mr Clegg said the celebration was a “special time to reflect on the past year and look forward in hope.”

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