State Watch

Diwali to become NYC public school holiday in 2023

New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) announced during a press conference on Thursday that the festival of Diwali, celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists, will become a public school holiday in the city beginning next year.

“Our public school calendar is not just a list of days off; it is a testament to New York City’s diversity, inclusiveness and character,” he said.

“By calling for Diwali to be marked as a public school holiday, we are celebrating our fellow New Yorkers’ traditions and the tradition of inclusiveness in the city we call home.”

Adams announced the news alongside New York Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar (D), who introduced the bill authorizing Diwali, the festival of lights, to be observed by public schools.

Diwali will replace Anniversary Day, a holiday created to celebrate New York City in the 1800s, on the public school calendar.

“The time has come to recognize over 200,000 New Yorkers of the Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh and Jain faiths who celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights,” said Rajkumar at the press conference.

Rajkumar shared in a press release that South Asian community activists have campaigned for Diwali to become a school holiday for the past 20 years “so that thousands of students, parents, and faculty would no longer have to choose between observing the day or missing school or work.”

New York City Department of Education Chancellor David Banks joined Adams and Rajkumar in their announcement, sharing his support for adding Diwali to the school calendar.

“The diversity of our city is what makes us powerful, and it’s an honor to stand in support of the members of our community who are Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist to show how much we value their heritage,” he said.

The Consulate General of India in New York responded to the announcement over Twitter on Thursday, saying: “Thank you New York Mayor Eric Adams @NYCMayor for making #Diwali a public school holiday in New York City.”

Tags David Banks Eric Adams Eric Adams New York City

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