Thousands of miles away from their homes, Indians settled abroad on Saturday celebrated the festival of lights Diwali with fervour and gaiety amid bursting of crackers and lighting of lamps.
People decorated their homes with traditional lamps and lights while many of them went on a vacation to celebrate the festival of lights as it fell on a weekend this time. The Indian Missions in the US too organised various functions to celebrate the festival.
In London, Diwali was celebrated for the first time at the 10, Downing Street, amid chanting of Vedic prayers for world peace, with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown terming it a "historic event".
"This is a great day for Downing Street, a great day for us and a great day for Britain to celebrate Diwali for the first time in Downing Street. This is a historic event," a beaming Brown told the gathering.
Sri Lankan Tamils marked the festival with President Mahinda Rajapaksa promising the beginning of a new era where their sufferings "will be a thing of the past" and they would be able to return to their homes in the war-torn north, adding "the light of goodwill will dispel the darkness of terror in our land".
People clad in new attire thronged temples and distributed sweets among their community members and friends while children burst fire crackers. According to Hindu belief, Diwali marks the return of Lord Rama to his kingdom after 14 years of exile.