Diwali is set to become a school holiday in New York City, announced Mayor Eric Adams yesterday. He said that festival of Diwali will be added to the list of public school holidays in recognition of the growth of the city’s South Asian and Indo-Caribean communities.
The announcement came after the state lawmakers recently enacted legislation designating it as a holiday in the biggest school system in the US.
Mayor Eric Adams called the moment a significant win for the local families. Meanwhile, the measure still has to be inked into law by Governor Kathy Hochul. The mayor said, he was confident that Governor Kathy Hochul would sign the bill.
The new holiday will replace Brooklyn-Queens Day on the school holiday calendar. According to officials, more than two hundred thousand residents in New York celebrate Diwali.
Diwali will be observed this year on November 12, therefore it will be a day off from school for the first time in 2024.
What’s Next? Will Diwali become a federal holiday?
According to New York Times:
The efforts in New York City reflect the broader ways that schools across the country have grappled with when to close for religious or cultural celebrations. Some leaders argue that not all holidays can warrant a closure, but families often point out that a number of students might otherwise miss class time.
In San Francisco, the school board this fall reversed a decision to recognize Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha as holidays, angering many parents. The board said that “further analysis” was first needed to determine what dates should be added.
Those national debates are unlikely to end as the push to recognize major religious holidays continues.
Representative Grace Meng, a Queens Democrat, introduced legislation last month, for example, that would make Diwali a federal holiday. Doing so, Ms. Meng said, would “demonstrate that the government values the diverse cultural makeup of the nation.”