Diwali, which is celebrated with great fervour and gaiety across India, marks the return Lord Ram, the King of Ayodhya in northern India, after his victory over demon king Ravana in distant Lanka, as well as the culmination of his 14-year-long exile.
Many in Ottawa's South Asian community gathered on Thursday to prepare for the start of Diwali, the five-day festival of light.
The Diwali Festival brings a message of unity and it is a time for families and communities to unite to spread a meaningful dialogue and shared respect amongst all.
"As we do so, we especially remember the people of India, the home of the Hindu faith, who have built the world's largest democracy".
"(Because of Diwali) Leicester is the on the global map".
Indian-American members of the Trump administration, including U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, gathered with the president Tuesday as he read an official statement and lit the ceremonial oil lamp known as the diya.
"We wish all the Hindus a peaceful and blessed Diwali".
"Our Indian-American neighbors and friends have made incredible contributions to our country - and to the world".
"Today, we proudly celebrate this holiday in the people's house. In doing so, we reaffirm that Indian-Americans and Hindu-Americans are truly cherished, treasured and beloved members of our great American family".
In its truest sense, the celebration of Diwali refers to the light of spiritual knowledge dispelling all ignorance about our transcendent reality.
"A time of peace and prosperity for the New Year, it is a tradition that is held dear by more than 1 billion Hindus worldwide and more than 2 million Hindus in the United States".
Celebrated by millions of people in India and all over the world, the festival has regional differences and varies according to religion. "So we'll forgo the fireworks", he said, amidst laughter from a Washington audience.
Malti, a senior citizen of Karachi serving at KMC for past more than 40 years said she and her colleagues mainly settled in old areas prefer to celebrate the day within the community.
US President Donald Trump said that he was "deeply honoured" by the presence of many leaders of the Indian-American community to celebrate Diwali at the White House on Wednesday. "Today's event is how this president, this White House is going to be commemorating Diwali".