Hindus are celebrating the addition of the festival Diwali as a school holiday in the Howard County Public School system in Maryland.
The School Board voted unanimously to add the festival to its 2016-2017 holiday calendar.
“Awareness about other religions thus created by such holidays like Diwali would make the pupils well-nurtured, well-balanced and enlightened citizens of tomorrow,” said Hindu statesman Rajan Zed. “It would make HCPSS look good also besides bringing cohesion and unity in the community.
Other holidays already observed in the district include Lunar New Year Eve and the Muslim religious observance Eid al-Adha. Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashana are also observed.
The Festival of Lights symbolizes the victory of good over evil among Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and some Buddhists.
“We did not want our children to be deprived of any privileges at the school because of thus resulting absences on this day. Closing schools on Diwali would ensure that.”
Eid al-Adha is the Festival of Sacrifice celebrated by Muslims. It commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son as an act of submission to God’s command.