New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) announced Monday that the festival of Diwali, celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists, is set to become a public school holiday starting next year.
“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!” he tweeted Monday.
In a press conference with Rajkumar (D), Adams said he is “confident” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) will sign legislation Rajkumar introduced allowing schools to observe the Festival of Lights.
“And so today, I’m proud that the State Assembly and the State Senate have passed the bill making Diwali a New York City Public School holiday,” Adams said at the press conference. “And we feel confident that the governor is going to sign this bill into law. This is a victory, not only from the men and women of the Indian community and all communities that celebrate Diwali, but it’s a victory for New York.”
Rajkumar noted there are more than 600,000 Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists across New York City who celebrate Diwali. She also said she is the first Indian-American woman and the first Hindu-American to be elected to New York state office.
“This is what victory looks like. This is what victory feels like. For over two decades, the South Asian and Indo-Caribbean community has fought for this moment,” she said at the press conference. “People said this day would never come, but today we stand victorious inside of City Hall. Our time has come, and we have arrived at the table of power.”
Diwali is a festival celebrated for five or six days, typically between mid-October and mid-November. This year, the festival is set to begin Nov. 12, so schools in New York City will have that day off.