Push to add Diwali holiday to NYC public school calendar

Local News

NEW YORK — Diwali, the festival of lights, is celebrated by more than one billion people around the world.

In the United States, a bill is trying to make Diwali a federal holiday, while in the tri-state area, there is a push to get it marked as a holiday in the New York City public school calendar.

Despite the push, Mayor Bill de Blasio said there may not be room to add it into the calendar.

“The school calendar has gotten very, very full, and meritoriously so. Some really important additions were needed such as the Eid holidays and the Asian Lunar New Year holiday. But we also have a legal requirement at the State level we have to meet in terms of number of school days,” he said.

However, mayor-elect Eric Adams has pledged to the Indian American community in New York it will get done next year.

Some South Asians in the Indo-Caribbean celebrate Diwali for five days, signifying good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. 

“This is the festival that teaches you unity, togetherness, peace, inclusion and diversity. That’s what Diwali is all about,” Neeta Bhasin said.

The Empire State Building will be lit up an orange Thursday night to celebrate partnering with the Federation of Indian Associations for the holiday.

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