New York City makes Diwali public school holiday from 2023

Mayor Eric Adams during a press conference in September in New York City. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg via Getty Images

New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) announced Thursday that Diwali will become a public school holiday in New York City starting next year.

why does it matter: Diwali’s celebration of light over darkness which begins on October 24 this year, is one of the most sacred holidays celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists. About 200,000 New Yorkers celebrate Diwali every year, every year State Assembly member Jennifer Rajkumar (D) Who introduced the Holiday Recognition Bill.

what are they saying: “For more than two decades, South Asians and Indo-Caribbeans in New York have been fighting for the Diwali school holiday,” said Rajkumar, the first South Asian American woman elected to statewide office in New York. Press Conference with Adams.

  • “To New Yorkers from India, Guyana, Trinidad, India, the Caribbean, Nepal, Bangladesh and across the South Asian diaspora – see you.”

The Big Picture: Adding Diwali to the school calendar replaces the little-known Brooklyn-Queens Day and fulfills a campaign pledge by Adams, who noted the measure was “long overdue” for students and the city’s Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist communities.

  • “We’ve done it with the feast, we’ve done it in the lunar new year. And we do it on many other days and as many other cultures as we recognize,” Adams said.
  • “We will encourage children to learn what Diwali is,” he added. “We’ll get them to start talking about what it’s like to celebrate the Feast of Lights, and how you turn on the light inside you.”