Governor Keeps Lights On for Annual Diwali Celebration

November 8, 2008

Author: Sheena McFarland

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune

The smells of paneer pakora and stuffed okra filled the Governor's Mansion on Friday night as Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. invited many from Utah's Indian community to celebrate Diwali with him and his family.

Diwali, or the Festival of Lights, is a celebration of the victory of good over evil in people, and is recognized by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists worldwide.

"In Hinduism, there is something beyond the physical body," Huntsman told the crowd of about 125 seated around tables in the mansion's ballroom. "Just as we celebrate the birth of the body, tonight, we celebrate the inner goodness of humanity."

This is the fourth year Huntsman has held a Diwali celebration in the mansion. Two years ago, the Huntsmans adopted a daughter, Asha, from India. He told the crowd gathered that he was proud to welcome the Indian community into the "house of the people."

"It's our diversity, which is increasingly being recognized by the rest of the world, here in Utah that adds to our state's strength," he said.