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Diwali not on holiday list, Hindus disappointed

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New York City Mayor lists Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha as public holidays, keeps out Diwali

The City of New York found itself facing the ire of its Hindu residents and their representatives in government when Mayor Bill de Blasio announced this week that two Muslim festivals would be included in the list of public holidays but not Diwali.

Announcing at a function on Tuesday that Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha would be listed as a school holiday for the City, which is the largest school district in the nation, Mr. de Blasio said, “We’re here today to make good on a promise to our Muslim brothers and sisters that a holiday of supreme importance to the Muslim community will be recognised in our school calendar so that children can honour the holiday without missing school, so that families can be together on the holiday, so that our city respects and embraces this important and growing community.”

However Congresswoman Grace Meng of the Sixth District in Queens, New York, said that while she applauded the Mayor for his action, she hoped Diwali will be included as well.

When she served in the New York State Assembly Congresswoman Meng had sponsored a new law that required NYC to consider closing schools for Id ul-Adha, Id ul-Fitr, Lunar New Year and Diwali.

Meanwhile members of the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) expressed “deep disappointment” with the non-designation of Diwali as a public holiday. “While the addition of two Muslim holidays is commendable, the Mayor’s decision to exclude Diwali, a festival that is celebrated by thousands of Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs in NYC is beyond disappointing,” said HAF Senior Director Sheetal Shah.

Uma Mysorekar, President of the Ganesh Temple in Flushing, Queens said “Diwali is widely celebrated in this city and is an important time for families to be together,” adding, “Our students should not have to worry about missing school work or exams in order to practice their faith.

In a statement HAF underscored that it had joined hands with a broad-based Diwali Coalition of almost 40 organisations and NYC temples that urged the Mayor to include Diwali alongside the other proposed holidays and Lunar New Year.

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Printable version | Dec 14, 2019 7:03:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/diwali-not-on-holiday-list-hindus-disappointed/article6964313.ece

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