HomeCampusNew York City Debates Making Diwali a School Holiday

New York City Debates Making Diwali a School Holiday

Diwali StampBy Len Patel
AsAmNews Staff Reporter

A committee on the New York City Council this week will discuss a resolution calling on the New York City Department of Education to make Diwali, the Festival of Lights on the Hindu calendar, an official school holiday.

A majority of Indian Americans in the United States, 51 percent, are Hindu, according to a 2014 report by the Pew Research Center.

The proposal will be taken up Tuesday by the Committee on Education.

Currently Lunar New Year, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Good Friday and the Muslim holidays of Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr are recognized as official school holidays in New York City.

The Universal Society of Hinduism says excluding Diwali sends a wrong message to students.

“Holidays of all major religions should be honored and no one should be penalized for practicing their religion,” said Ranjan Zed, President of the University Society. “Moreover, it is important to meet the religious and spiritual needs of these students.”

Mayor Bill De Basio kept a campaign promise by making Eid Al-Adha and Eid Al-Fitr school holidays. He also relented on Lunar New Year, but has not supported adding Diwali to the school calendar.

The festival of lights symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Next year it will fall on October 19. This year it was celebrated on October 30.

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