UN lights up for Diwali for the first time

31 Oct 2016


The United Nations commemorated Diwali for the first time, with the world body lighting up its imposing headquarters in New York in bright colours, along with the image of the traditional Diwali lamp 'diya' embossed on top of the facade.

The facade of the UN headquarters greeted people with 'Happy Diwali' and the image of the 'diya', projected onto the building.

"Lighting up. @UN lights up for #Diwali for 1st time," India's Ambassador to the UN Syed Akbaruddin tweeted.

"Happy Diwali! @UN celebrates Diwali for 1st time. Thank you @UN_PGA for this initiative," Akbaruddin said in another tweet, thanking General Assembly President Peter Thomson for the initiative.

He also tweeted a picture of passers-by clicking photographs of the building as well as being themselves clicked against the illuminated UN headquarters in the background.

"Light over darkness, hope over despair, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil - the UN lights up. Happy Diwali!",  Thomson tweeted along with a picture of the UN building lit up in bright blue for Diwali.

The UN Secretariat building will be lit up for Diwali from 29-31 October.

The UN General Assembly had adopted a resolution in December 2014 that acknowledged the "significance of Diwali".

Noting that the festival is observed in many UN member states, the resolution had called on UN bodies to avoid holding meetings on Diwali, declaring it a no-meeting day.

From 2016 onwards, Diwali was made an optional holiday for the UN, India's Permanent Mission to the world body said in a special video message.

Earlier in June, the UN building was lit up on the occasion of the International Yoga Day, with images of Yoga postures projected on the imposing headquarters. 

Both Diwali and Yoga has great significance in today's world where ill-health and ignorance still prevail.

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