New York: New York City Mayor Eric Adams has officially decalred Diwali as a school holiday aimed at honouring the city’s South Asian, Indo-Caribbean, Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist communities.
On Monday, Mayor Adams made the announcement at City Hall while being flanked by Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar, the first Hindu American and first South Asian American woman elected to state office, reports ABC 7.
“Today we say to over 600,000 Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, and Jain Americans, we see you,” Rajkumar said.
“Today we say to families from India, Guyana, Trinidad, Nepal, and Bangladesh, we recognise you.”
Taking to Twitter later in the day, Adams said: “I’m so proud to have stood with Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar and community leaders in the fight to make Diwali a school holiday.
“I know it’s a little early in the year, but: Shubh Diwali!”
The Mayor’s announcement comes after the New York State legislature on June 9 passed a Bill to make Diwali a school holiday in the city.
However, Governor Kathy Hochul is still yet to sign the bill to make it into a law.
Two earlier attempts to pass the legislation in 2021 and 2022 did not succeed.
An estimated 200,000 students from these communities will be able to celebrate the festival of lights in their own way, free of school.
In 2023, Diwali will be celebrated on Sunday, November 12, so it will be a day off school for the first time in 2024.
The New York Department of Education said there will be four new days off during 2023-24 school calendar including April 1, the day after Easter, April 29 and 30, the two days of Passover, and June 17 for Eid.