I send my best wishes to everyone in Britain and around the world celebrating Diwali and Bandi Chhor.
At this important time of year for the Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist faiths we will see friends and families all over the country come together to celebrate these holy festivals.
The glorious ‘festival of light’ will be celebrated with lighting lamps, devotional singing and prayers at brightly decorated temples and homes, while at Gurdwaras and Sikh households families will celebrate the ‘day of freedom’ and pray for freedom and empowerment for all mankind.
While the festivals of Diwali and Bandi Chhor have different origins, their universal message of hope over despair, light over darkness and good over evil is something that we should all celebrate.
Together with other autumn festivals of Eid al-Adha and Chanukah, Diwali and Bandi Chhor demonstrate many of the common values that we all share.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Britain’s Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist communities for all they do for our country. You make an enormous contribution to Britain in so many ways. From hardworking families that are doing the right thing to entrepreneurs and businesses that are helping create prosperity; from excelling in science and public service to achieving in the arts and sport, your role in our nation is a shining example of how communities can integrate and succeed while retaining a strong and proud identity.
To all those celebrating Diwali or Bandi Chhor I send my warmest greetings.