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The United Nations headquarters in Manhattan, New York celebrated Diwali for the first time since the world body declared it as a non-meeting day in 2014. Diwali greetings were beamed on to the facade of the UN building on Saturday night as it turned purple, with the words ‘Happy Diwali’ prominently displayed below a diya. Tourists and New York City residents were seen snapping pictures of the building as it lit up for Diwali.
On December 29, 2014, the United Nations General Assembly, acknowledging the significance of Diwali, adopted a resolution to avoid holding meetings on this day. India’s ambassador and permanent representative to the UN, Syed Akbaruddin shared an image of the brightly-lit UN building and thanked UNGA President Peter Thompson on Twitter for the initiative.
Light over darkness, hope over despair, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil – the UN lights up. Happy Diwali! pic.twitter.com/muA23nFWZZ
— Peter Thomson (@ThomsonFiji) October 30, 2016
Peter Thompson, extending the festival greetings, wrote: “Light over darkness, hope over despair, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil – the UN lights up. Happy Diwali!”
From 2016 onward, Diwali was made an optional holiday for the UN.