New York City schools will celebrate Diwali beginning in 2024, Mayor Eric Adams announced Monday. Efforts are being made within the New York State Legislature as well as nationally to mark the holiday. * Supporters, mostly from India and neighboring countries, have worked for decades to have the holiday recognized in various parts of the United States. The law still requires the signature of Democratic New York Governor Kathy Hochul, but it is believed she will sign it.
"We're now saying New York is for everyone," Adams said. “It doesn't matter where you come from. » (The New York Times)
The New York Department of Education also announced additional days off to celebrate April 1, the day after Easter, April 29 and 30 for both days of Passover, and June 17 for Eid al- Adha. Recently, Lunar New Year was added to the list of public school holidays.
“Our school calendar must reflect the new reality on the ground,” Adams said at a press conference on Monday, “and cannot reflect the absence of those who are not recognized – and we do so within the limits to have a schedule that we must respect by law, and we will continue to do so. (Daily News)
New York City, home to 8,47 million people, has one of the highest concentrations of South Asians in the United States, with some 600 South Asians living in the city. Adams was joined by State Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar, the first Hindu American woman and the first South Asian American elected to state office in New York, at City Hall for the announcement. .
“Today we say to over 600 Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Jain Americans, we see you,” Rajkumar said. “Today we say to families in India, Guyana, Trinidad, Nepal and Bangladesh, we recognize you. (ABC 000 NY)
Diwali is one of the most important festivals of the year in India, celebrating the victory of light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance, with people from all religious traditions lighting candles, sharing food and sweets and giving gifts. Fireworks are common, and people often spend their holiday shopping at markets or enjoy local fairs. Many Buddhists take this opportunity to commemorate the conversion of Emperor Ashoka (r. 265-238 BCE) to Buddhism.
"It's less about schools being closed in recognition of Diwali," said Schools Chancellor David Banks. “It's more about the fact that minds will be opened because of what we're going to teach them about Diwali. » (New York Daily News)
This year, Diwali falls on November 12, a Sunday. So 2024, when it falls on a Monday, will be the first year that students will enjoy a school day off in New York City.
Advocates continue their efforts at the state and federal levels in an effort to further recognize and celebrate the nation's diversity.
* US congresswoman introduces legislation to make Diwali a national holiday (BDG)