THULASENDRAPURAM, India (Reuters) – Residents of the ancestral Indian village of Kamala Harris celebrated her inauguration as U.S. vice president on Wednesday by setting off firecrackers and distributing food.
Thulasendrapuram, a leafy village about 320 km (200 miles) south of the city of Chennai, is where Harris’s maternal grandfather was born more than a century ago.
Calendars featuring the faces of Biden and Harris have been distributed throughout the village by a co-operative.
“A local politician conducted a special prayer and villagers have been distributing sweets and letting off crackers since the morning,” said village shopkeeper G Manikandan.
The scenes were in contrast to the sombre mood in Washington – locked down due to security concerns and the threat of the novel coronavirus – where Biden and Harris are due to be sworn in later on Wednesday.
Harris, who was born to an Indian mother and a Jamaican father, both of whom immigrated to the United States to study, visited Thulasendrapuram when she was five and has recalled walks with her grandfather on the beach at Chennai.
Separately, artist Sudarsan Pattnaik has created a sand sculpture featuring Biden and Harris.
Harris becomes the first woman, first Black American and first Asian American to win the second highest U.S. office.
(Additional reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan in Chennai; Writing by Alasdair Pal; Editing by Robert Birsel)