Last Updated: June 19, 2023, 10:18 IST
New York, United States of America (USA)
After Pennsylvania, New York City has passed a bill to make Diwali a school holiday. The New York State Legislature passed a bill last week to make the Indian festival a school holiday in the city.
The bill is with Governor Kathy Hochul, who is expected to sign the bill to make it a law. Once the law is passed, Mayor Eric Adams would be able to designate Diwali as a school holiday for the more than 2 lakh New Yorkers who celebrate it.
The bill successfully cleared its passage through the New York Senate and assembly. Earlier, the bill had failed twice when it was first introduced in 2021 and reintroduced in October 2022, The Times of India reported.
“It has fulfilled the dream of the South Asian community,” Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar said while passing the historic bill.
Although Diwali is celebrated in Washington DC including in the White House and the US Capitol, it has not been declared as a national holiday yet.
Earlier this year, Pennsylvania became the first US state which has officially recognized Diwali as a public holiday. The rest of the US is yet to recognise the festival of lights as an official holiday.
Pennsylvania introduced the Diwali holiday ahead of other states like California, Texas, Illinois, New York and New Jersey which have huge Indian-American population.
Meanwhile, Congresswoman Graced Meng, a prominent American lawmaker, has also introduced a bill in the US Congress last month to declare Diwali a federal holiday.
“Diwali is one of the most important days of the year for billions of people across the globe, and for countless families and communities in Queens, New York, and the United States,” Congresswoman Graced Meng told reporters during a virtual news conference here soon after introducing the bill in the House of Representatives.
The Diwali Day Act, when passed by the Congress and signed into law by the President, would make the festival the 12th federally recognised holiday in the US.
Michigan state representative Ranjeev Puri, whose parents migrated from Punjab. Has also introduced a bill last week to make Diwali, Vaishakhi, Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Adha and Lunar New Year as state-recognised holidays in the US state.