NYC officially declares Diwali a public school holiday, students will have day off starting in fall

Diwali is officially a New York City public school holiday, Mayor Eric Adams announced Monday.

Adams was joined at the announcement at City Hall by Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar, the first Hindu American and first South Asian American woman elected to state office.

“Today we say to over 600,000 Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, and Jain Americans, we see you,” Rajkumar said. “Today we say to families from India, Guyana, Trinidad, Nepal, and Bangladesh, we recognize you.”

The announcement comes after state lawmakers approved a bill, first introduced in 2021 and reintroduced in 2022. Supporters have been attempting to get the date on the public school calendar for decades.

There is no set annual date for Diwali, it is dictated by a lunar calendar and falls in October or November.

In 2023, Diwali will be celebrated on Sunday, November 12.

Diwali is a pan-religious holiday celebrating the symbolic victory of light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance, fostering unity and togetherness.

It lasts five days and is celebrated by Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains. It is India’s biggest and most important holiday of the year.

Officials eliminated “Anniversary Day” as a holiday, allowing the school system to add Diwali to the calendar while still meeting the required 180 days a year in school.

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