In a landmark decision, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul has signed legislation declaring Diwali a school holiday for New York City public schools. Emphasizing the city’s richness in diverse religions and cultures, Governor Hochul expressed the importance of acknowledging and celebrating this diversity in the school calendar.
The legislation mandates the closure of all public schools in New York City on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Indian calendar, known as Diwali. Governor Hochul signed the legislation during a special Diwali reception at the Hindu Temple Society of North America, highlighting the significance of bringing people together to celebrate the Festival of Lights.
The legislation, which amends the education law, recognizes the cultural observance of Diwali by many individuals of the Hindu, Sikh, Jain, and Buddhist faiths. Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar, who led efforts to establish Diwali as a school holiday, celebrated the historic achievement, emphasizing its lasting impact on the South Asian community.
State Senator Joseph Addabbo commended the legislation’s importance in promoting unity and understanding in a time of global challenges. Various community leaders expressed their gratitude for the recognition of Diwali as a school holiday, emphasizing the festival’s symbolic message of light triumphing over darkness and good prevailing over evil.