Diwali, the festival of lights, is set to become a school holiday in New York City, Mayor Eric Adams announced on Monday.
Thousands of New Yorkers celebrate Diwali each year to commemorate the victory of light over darkness, and the announcement came after state lawmakers recently enacted legislation designating it as a holiday in the biggest school system in the US.
Mayor Eric Adams called the moment a significant win for the local families.
“I’m so proud to have stood with Assemblymember @JeniferRajkumar and community leaders in the fight to make Diwali a school holiday. I know it’s a little early in the year, but: Shubh Diwali!.” the Mayor wrote on Twitter.
The mayor said he was “confident” that Governor Kathy Hochul would sign the bill.
The measure still has to be inked into law by Governor Kathy Hochul. The new holiday will replace “Brooklyn-Queens Day” on the school holiday calendar.
Following the declaration, New York State Assembly member, Jenifer Rajkumar tweeted, “My press conference with @NYCMayor today at City Hall. I was proud to lead and win the fight to make Diwali a School Holiday, alongside Mayor Eric Adams.”
Adams said that the moment represented a symbolic declaration to those who feel unwelcome “that you are part of this city and not considered an outsider,” the New York Times reported.
“We’re now saying New York is made for everyone,” Adams said. “No matter where you came from.”
Diwali will be observed this year on Sunday, November 12, therefore it will be a day off from school for the first time in 2024.
According to the New York Times, in 2015, the city announced it would close schools in honour of two major Muslim holidays, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.