“Today, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists come together to celebrate the ancient festival of Diwali, also known as the festival of lights.
“Although traditionally a Hindu festival, Diwali surpasses religious boundaries. It is a time of unity and joy for people of many faiths and backgrounds.
“Indian folk art known as rangoli are drawn and filled with coloured powder or rice, and diyas (small oil lamps) are lit to show the triumph of light over darkness. Homes, places of worship and places of work are cleaned and then decorated with rangoli, diyas and other works of art.
“During this time, families traditionally reflect on their blessings, pray, exchange gifts, eat treats, sing and dance. During the pandemic, I ask that all celebrants keep their Diwali gatherings small and follow all public health measures. It is an act of love to protect your communities from COVID-19.
“I wish everyone celebrating today a very happy Diwali. Diwali ki badhai!”