ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The New York State Assembly has introduced legislation that would amend the education law to establish Diwali as an observed school holiday. Assemblymembers say when such holidays fall on school days, many teachers and parents are required to choose a school absence or not celebrate an important cultural or religious holiday.
According to Assemblymembers, this recognition is already in support of other ethnic and religious groups in New York, which is home to many residents of South-Asian descent. Laksmi Puja is considered the most significant part on the third day of the five-day festival of Diwali, which is observed by Hindus, Sikhs, Jainists and Buddhists.
Allowing such a school holiday, Assemblymembers say, not only demonstrates the importance in recognition of New York’s cultural diversity but the significance of its South-Asian community. The education law will require that the fifteenth day of the Hindu lunisolar month known as Lakshmi Puja, be an observed holiday for all New York state qualifying school districts.
Diwali is a Festival of Lights, which is the biggest holiday of the year in India. It usually occurs in October or November. The celebration dates back more than 2,500 years and celebrates the triumph in many tales of good over evil.