Diwali is not just a festival, it’s a whole lot of emotions riding with the celebrations that span for over a week with the excitement prevailing long before the commencement of the festivities. While the festival of lights has been celebrated all over the world, a special holiday announcement coming in from the United States has just made Diwali more global than ever before. New York City Mayor Eric Adams recently announced that the public schools will be closed on Diwali every year starting next to celebrate the festival with full zest and inclusivity.
The Diwali festive fever has now extended its global stage with New York City declaring a public school holiday for the festival every year starting in 2023 to promote ethnicity and inclusivity. The Diwali festivities are kicking in full swing as several countries are planning massive celebrations in the following days.
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NY City school holiday on Diwali
Mayor Eric Adams made the announcement recently stating that the decision to declare a public school holiday on Diwali was long overdue. Adams mentioned that this decision will help send their message of inclusivity across the region and will encourage children to learn about the festival of lights. New York Assembly member Jenifer Rajkumar and City Schools Chancellor David Banks joined Adams during the announcement. The Mayor shared his journey learning about Diwali revealing that he learned a lot about the festival and its message during his campaign trials and that it’s something he wants young children in New York to learn as well.
“We wanted to send a loud and clear message to countless people who acknowledge this period of festivities,” said Adams adding that the moment marks an educational message as well because when the city acknowledges Diwali, the children will learn about it more from a younger age itself.
“We are going to have them start discussing what it really means to celebrate Diwali and how it’s significant to turn the light within yourself.” Mayor Adams
NY Assembly Member Rajkumar, who is also the first South Asian-American woman to be elected to state office in the city, said that this decision serves as welcoming change. She added how the time has finally come to acknowledge over 2 lakh New Yorkers of Hindi, Sikh, Buddhist and Jain faiths who celebrate the festival of lights.
Global celebrations of Diwali
Not just New York City, but the world at large is gearing up for Diwali celebrations this year. As a strong turning point for the Indian communities living abroad, the festival of lights celebrations mark recognition and a step towards inclusivity and diversity in all its glory.
UAE celebrates Diwali
Having people from all walks of life experience ad enjoy the Indian heritage and grandeur, Dubai and the rest of the UAE is all set to host Diwali celebrations across the city. Packed with live entertainment, events and performances by several big names, the UAE’s celebrations will range over the entire week. Dubai is not far behind; apart from the various attractions, firework shows, and celebratory meet-ups, the Big Diwali Mela in Dubai will have popular singers perform for the audience which will be in massive numbers at the Mela for the festival of lights celebrations.
Vice President of the United States leading the Diwali celebrations
The United States has already begun the Diwali celebrations with full zest this year, especially considering the Indian heritage of Vice President Kamala Harris. The Times Square in New York has been hosting several celebratory shows these days commencing the celebrations. VP Harris will be joining in the festivities by hosting a celebration at her residence recently. Harris and the second gentleman Douglas Emhoff have sent invites over to eminent Indian-Americans, members of the administration, and diplomats for the celebrations to be held on Friday.
US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will also be honouring the festival by hosting Indian Americans on October 24.
Chants of prayers and peace at the House of Parliament in London
Recently, the Houses of Parliament in the London complex commenced the Diwali celebration by inviting priests to chant prayers of peace and light candles at the complex. The celebration, which was held in the State Rooms of the Speaker Houses, marked the recognition of Diwali in an even grander manner than last year inviting cross-party parliamentarians, administrators, and various representatives to come together and acknowledge the festival of lights and its significance.
With the pandemic uprooting millions of lives and families in the past two years, this year’s Diwali globally sure seems like a new hope towards acceptance of crucial times and cherishing the good that is around us.