Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at a Diwali celebration held at her home in Washington DC. (Photo courtesy of MR Rangaswami)

Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff opened their home at the Naval Observatory in Washington DC Oct. 21 to host a grand Diwali party.

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and Neera Tanden, senior advisor to President Joe Biden, joined scores of A-list Indian Americans who participated in the celebrations, the first to be held at the Vice President’s home. The venue was colorfully decorated in lights and lamps. As dusk fell, guests played with the traditional sparklers as smoke filled the air.

Indiaspora founder MR Rangaswami (left) with US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy join a Diwali celebration at the Washington DC home of Vice President Kamala Harris. (photo courtesy of MR Rangaswami)

To the puzzlement of many, Harris wore her traditional pant suit, eschewing the saris, anarkhalis, and lehngas sported by her female guests. She later apologized to her guests during a speech, laughing along with her guests as she said: “I’m sorry I’m not wearing a sari, but I did wear some nice jewelry.”

Seeking Light In Moments Of Darkness

In a speech, Harris fondly remembered celebrating Diwali as a child in Chennai. She recalled getting dressed up in new clothes and then going out on to the streets to throw fireworks. “What could be better?” she proclaimed, to long laughs from the crowd.

“As I get older, I really am beginning to appreciate Diwali more. It really is a universal concept: seeking light in moments of darkness, and shedding light in moments of darkness.”

White House Celebrations

“We are not without great challenges, in our own country, and in the world. Celebrations like Diwali remind us of our power to bring lightness to the world,” said the Vice President. There is so much about Diwali that is also enlightenment above ignorance.”

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden celebrated Diwali at the White House Oct. 24.