Published: 21st October 2022
Diwali public school holiday goes international: New York City to have school holiday on Diwali from 2023
"We're going to have them start talking about what it is to celebrate the Festival of Lights," says Mayor Eric Adams
On October 20, the Mayor of New York City, Eric Adams, announced at a press conference that Diwali will be a public school holiday from next year, that is, 2023. This announcement was made along with state assembly woman Jenifer Rajkumar and even Department of Education Chancellor David Banks joined them, as stated in a report by IANS.
This announcement was made two days ahead of Diwali which is being celebrated in India on October 24. The festival of lights is celebrated by more than a billion people across the globe. This festival signifies the victory of good over evil and light over darkness.
Speaking at the presser, Adams said, "We are going to encourage children to learn about what is Diwali. We're going to have them start talking about what it is to celebrate the Festival of Lights, and how do you turn a light on within yourself."
Additionally, it was Rajkumar who introduced legislation to recognise Diwali and for the past two decades, the South Asians and Indo-Caribbeans in New York have been fighting for a school holiday on Diwali. In this regard, Rajkumar said, "The time has come to recognise over 2,00,000 New Yorkers of the Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh and Jain faiths who celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Lights."
"People have said that there's simply not enough room in the New York City school calendar to have a Diwali school holiday. Well, my legislation makes the room," added Rajkumar, the first South Asian American woman elected to state-level office in New York.
The new school schedule will still have 180 school days, as is required by the state's education laws, Rajkumar added. Adding Diwali to the school calendar replaces the little-known Brooklyn-Queens Day — which originated as a Protestant holiday celebrated in the 1800s.