Joe Biden Greets Indians with 'Sal Mubarak' on Diwali, Twitter Divided. Here's What it Means

Buzz Staff
·3-min read

Barely a week has passed since the Democratic challenger Joe Biden won the United States Presidential Elections 2020, and it seems the President-elect is already facing heat from Indians on Twitter.

It all started when Biden, who is set to assume office as the US President in January 2021, put out a tweet wishing Indians a Happy Diwali on Saturday.

"To the millions of Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists celebrating the Festival of Lights, @DrBiden and I send our best wishes for a #HappyDiwali. May your new year be filled with hope, happiness, and prosperity. Sal Mubarak," Biden wrote.

Little did he know that his simple tweet was enough to cause controversy in India, where many took issue with Biden use of the term "Sal mubarak" as a Diwali saturation.

Many pointed out that "Sal Mubarak" was indeed an "Islamic greeting" and not one used to greet Diwali.

What is "Sal Mubarak"?

However, it seems Desi Twitter got it wrong. "Saal mubarak" is not a reference to any Islamic festival. In fact, Sal Mubarak is used to signify the occasion of Gujarati New Year, celebrated on the day after Diwali in Gujarat. The day is observed by Gujaratis including Paris, Hindus, Jains and Sikhs.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted about it in 2017.

The greeting, nevertheless, managed to go viral and soon, memes popped up. Many from Gujarat expressed pride over Biden's "saal mubarak" tweet.

And while some naysayers took issue with the use of the word "mubarak", others lauded Biden for extending his warm wishes to the Hindu community in the US.

"Saal Mubarak" is also used by the Parsi community to celebrate Nauroz, the Zoroastrian New Year celebrated in India and Pakistan. "Saal" means year while "Mubarak" is Arabic for congratulations.