Diwali in Britain : British PM Theresa May hosts festival reception at Downing Street

London, Oct 25: British Prime Minister Theresa May welcomed people from across the Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities to celebrate Diwali at Downing Street in London.

A British High Commission release in Delhi said Prime Minister Theresa May hosted a reception to celebrate Diwali and welcomed more than 150 key figures from across the Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities.

His Excellency Dinesh Patnaik, Acting Indian High Commissioner and Jitendra Patel, Trustee of Neasden Temple were joined by the prime minister in the traditional lamp lighting ceremony.

The prime minister was also joined by the Secretary of State for International Development Priti Patel, Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities Sajid Javid, Lord Gadhia and Foreign Office Minister Alok Sharma.

The prime minister said: “Thank you, and welcome to 10 Downing Street. It is great to have so many of you here at this special time of year and an honour to host my first Diwali reception as prime minister. For me, one of the most remarkable things about this festival is the sheer scale of its reach and the universal appeal of its message.

“Look at India — over a billion people, speaking hundreds of different languages, following various different faiths — united by this festival of light. Look at the rest of the world, and the colourful celebrations taking place from Singapore to South Africa, Australia to Nepal.

“And look at Britain, where, right now, people are buying gifts on Leicester’s Golden Mile, preparing pendas on Soho Road in Birmingham, and stringing up lights on Wembley’s Ealing Road — all in time for 5 holy days that are such an important part of our national life.

“When we analyse the true meaning of Diwali, its relevance extends beyond India, beyond the Indian diaspora and even beyond the Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists who, in different ways, mark the festival. Its messages apply to every single one of us — whatever our background, whatever our faith,” she said.