Prime Minister Rishi Sunak recently joined in the Diwali celebrations in his hometown of Southampton. He visited the Vedic Society Hindu Temple on Radcliffe Road with his family for the Aarti ceremony on Sunday evening.
Rishi Sunak, who is the first British-Indian Prime Minister, has strong ties to Southampton, where he was born and raised. His father worked as a doctor, and his mother ran her own pharmacy in the city. The Prime Minister attended the same Hindu temple when he was a kid.
During the Aarti ceremony, Mr. Sunak, along with his wife Akshata Murty, their two daughters, and his parents, participated in lighting candles and offering prayers. Addressing the crowd, he expressed joy at being back in Southampton and shared fond memories of his childhood in the city.
Diwali, also known as the festival of lights, celebrates the victory of light over darkness. In the spirit of the festival, the Sunak family had earlier lit Diya candles on the doorstep of Downing Street. Diwali involves various traditions, including illuminating homes with Diyas, lighting fireworks to ward off evil spirits, and creating artistic displays called rangoli using petals and sand.
The Diwali celebrations in Southampton attracted Hindus from different areas, and many were excited to see Prime Minister Sunak, who, in his younger days, attended Sunday classes at the temple to learn about Hindu culture.
Born in Southampton in 1980 to Indian parents who had moved from East Africa, Rishi Sunak’s visit to the Hindu temple is a special way for him to connect with his roots and celebrate Diwali with the community.