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The South Asian Insider


QUEENS, NY – U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), First Vice Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, announced today that she introduced the Diwali Day Act, a bill to make Diwali a federal holiday.
Diwali, also known as Deepavali or the Festival of Lights, is one of the most important holidays for many in the South Asian, Southeast Asian and Indo-Caribbean communities, as well as many religious groups including Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains. Billions around the world celebrate Diwali, including the millions who commemorate the holiday in the United States.
“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,” said Congresswoman Meng. “Diwali celebrations are a wonderful time here in Queens, and each year it is easy to see just how important this day is to so many people. America’s strength is derived from the diverse experiences, cultures and communities that make up this nation. My Diwali Day Act is one step toward educating all Americans on the importance of this day, and celebrating the full face of American diversity. I look forward to shepherding this bill through Congress.”
Diwali represents the triumph of good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. While the holiday holds a different significance for various cultural, ethnic and religious groups, the Festival of Lights is universally a time for celebration, reflection, prayer and gatherings with loved ones. Diwali will be celebrated later this year on November 12.
Under the Congresswoman’s legislation, Diwali would become the 12th federally recognized holiday in the United States. Establishing a federal holiday for Diwali, and the day off it would provide, would allow families and friends to celebrate together, and demonstrate that the government values the diverse cultural makeup of the nation.
Meng has also pushed to make Diwali a school holiday in her hometown of New York City, and she continues to advocate for state and local recognition of Diwali, along with Lunar New Year and Eid.