NEW YORK (PIX11) — Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, will be a New York City school holiday starting next year, according to Mayor Eric Adams.

“We’ve done this before, identifying holidays,” Adams said at a press conference Thursday. “We’ve done it with Eid, we’ve done it with Lunar New Years. We do it with so many other days and so many other cultures that we acknowledge.”

Diwali is a five-day festival celebrated by Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs and takes place on Oct. 24 this year.

The mayor’s announcement took many parents by surprise.

“Whoa,” kindergarten parent Manu Rai said when PIX11 told her the news.

“Really? Wow,” she continued. “That’s great news. Great news. I’m shocked!”

Rai reacted with the same level of emotion as virtually everyone PIX11 News encountered in the ethnically diverse neighborhood of Richmond Hill, Queens. With about a third of all residents descending from South Asia or the Caribbean, Diwali is a widely celebrated holiday in the neighborhood in the central part of the borough, as well as in many New York City communities.

Vanessa Ojai said that she’s always celebrated the holiday, since her childhood in Trinidad, in the Caribbean, even though she was raised Christian.

“It’s actually light over darkness, goodness over evil,” Ojai said. “So everyone should really participate and celebrate.”

The holiday would replace Anniversary Day on the school calendar. Anniversary Day celebrates the founding of the first Sunday schools in Brooklyn.

Queens Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar introduced the bill that, if approved in Albany, would allow Adams to declare Diwali an official 2023 school holiday.

“The time has come to recognize over 200,000 New Yorkers of the Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, and Jain faiths who celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Lights,” Rajkumar said.

Adams previously vowed that Diwali would become a public school holiday during his time in office. However, that didn’t come to fruition for the 2022-23 school year.

Despite this, an Adams spokesperson said making Diwali a school holiday would be one of the mayor’s legislative priorities for next year.

Students within New York City public schools started an online petition calling on Adams to fulfill his commitment. Diwali is already a school holiday in some private schools in New York City and in some districts on Long Island, according to the petition.