Congresswoman Meng calling for Diwali as federal holiday 

Rep. Grace Meng. PHOTO: courtesy Office of Rep. Grace Meng

Congresswoman Grace Meng, D-NY, is pushing for legislation to create a federal holiday for Diwali.

In a press release May 24, 2023, her office announced Rep. Meng’s legislation, Diwali Day Act, would make the Hindu festival of lights, the 12th federally recognized holiday in the United States.

Diwali, which usually falls in October or November, is observed by millions of Americans. It’s among the most important times of the year for many people of South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Indo-Caribbean descent as well as for Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains in New York and throughout the country, Rep. Meng’s press release noted.

“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,” it said.

Meng planned to make a formal public announcement May 26, and be joined by New York Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar (D-Queens) and State Senator Joe Addabbo (D-Queens).

Rajkumar, the first Indian-American woman to be elected to the NY state legislature, and Addabbo are sponsors of the New York State bill that seeks to allow the designation of Diwali as a school holiday in New York City.

Councilman Shekar Krishnan (D-Queens), the first Indian American member of the New York City Council, and Councilwoman Linda Lee (D-Queens) who recently passed a resolution in the City Council supporting a New York City school holiday for Diwali, were to join Meng in a show of support.



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