Rishi Sunak shares Diwali wishes from Downing Street

The new prime minister took over as leader of the Conservatives on Monday, the main day of celebration

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Britain’s new prime minister attended a Diwali reception at Downing Street and said he will do everything he can to build a Britain where children can light their diyas — small oil lamps — and “look to the future with hope”.

Rishi Sunak tweeted a picture of himself attending the reception on Wednesday night with a flower garland around his neck.

He added the caption: “Brilliant to drop into tonight's Diwali reception in No 10.

“I will do everything I can in this job to build a Britain where our children and our grandchildren can light their Diyas and look to the future with hope.

“Happy #Diwali everyone!,” he added.

So far, the post has attracted more than 105,000 likes.

Diwali, a five-day festival of lights, is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains around the world.

Mr Sunak lit candles outside Downing Street to mark Diwali in 2020.

Rishi Sunak lights candles outside 11 Downing Street, London, ahead of Diwali celebrations in 2020. PA

This year’s Diwali was especially auspicious for Mr Sunak, who won the Conservative Party leadership race to become Britain’s next prime minister on Monday, the main day of celebration of the religious festival.

The word Diwali means “rows of lighted lamps”. During the festival, houses, shops and public places are decorated with diyas. Fireworks and sweets also feature strongly in celebrations.

For Hindus, the festival celebrates the return of deities Rama and Sita to Ayodhya after a 14-year exile and the day Mother Goddess Durga destroyed a demon.

Sikhs mark the release from prison of the sixth guru Hargobind Singh in 1619.

Updated: October 27, 2022, 7:38 AM