Diwali Recognized as a School Holiday in New York

Mayor Eric Adams of New York City expressed his pride over the State Assembly and the State Senate's approval of the bill.
Mayor Eric Adams of New York City
Mayor Eric Adams of New York City

New York City has made a significant decision to include the festival of Diwali as a public school holiday, recognizing the growing South Asian and Indo-Caribbean communities within the city. 

Mayor Eric Adams announced this development on Monday, following recent legislation that designated Diwali as a holiday in the largest school system in the United States.

Diwali, celebrated by thousands of New Yorkers each year, commemorates the triumph of light over darkness.

Assembly member Jenifer Rajkumar, who spearheaded the initiative to establish Diwali as a holiday in the city, expressed pride in delivering this victory for the community, New York, and America, after a fight that lasted over two decades for the South Asian community.

Festivals of Lights, Diwali
Festivals of Lights, Diwali

New York City Acknowledges Diwali as a Public School Holiday, Pending Governor's Approval

Mayor Eric Adams acknowledged the significance of this moment and extended his wishes by saying, "I know it's a little early, but Shubh Diwali," on Twitter. 

City officials estimate that over 200,000 residents of New York City observe Diwali, a festival celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and some Buddhists.

However, despite the official recognition, students will not have a holiday on Diwali this year as the school calendar for 2023-2024 had already been established beforehand. This information was reported by the Associated Press. 

Additionally, for the measure to become law, it must be signed by Governor Kathy Hochul. The new holiday will take the place of "Brooklyn-Queens Day" on the school calendar.

Diwali Added as Public School Holiday Alongside Muslim Festivals

The inclusion of Diwali as a public school holiday follows a precedent set in 2015 when the city announced the closure of schools in honour of two major Muslim holidays, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, showing a commitment to recognizing and respecting the diverse religious and cultural traditions within the city.

The decision to include Diwali as a public school holiday demonstrates New York City's commitment to embracing its multicultural population and ensuring that the educational system respects and acknowledges the religious and cultural practices of its diverse student body. 

It is a step forward in fostering inclusivity, understanding, and celebrating the contributions of different communities within the city.

Mayor Eric Adams of New York City
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