Illinois Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi has agreed to co-sponsor a bill to make Diwali observance a national holiday in the United States, saying it is a critical holiday that can allow Americans to “celebrating … the triumph of light over darkness” amid the ongoing COVID pandemic.
The legislation, introduced to the House by New York Representative Carolyn Maloney, would make Diwali the 12the Federal holiday recognized by the United States.
âThe celebration of the triumph of light over darkness is especially important during this pandemic,â Krishnamoorthi said on social media.
According to Maloney’s website, she previously proposed legislation that led the U.S. Postal Service to produce a commemorative stamp in honor of Diwali, with the stamp going into circulation in 2016.
“Celebrations like Diwali speak to the heart of what we all wish our nation to be a beacon of happiness, healing, learning and light in uncertain times,” she told reporters of the new. law Project. âMy colleagues, the leaders of the Indo-American community and I believe that there is no better time to dedicate Diwali as a federal holiday than in the wake of this terrible and grim pandemic. “
There are currently 11 recognized federal holidays, with the last public holiday, National Independence Day on June 17, being added to the calendar in 2021.
By federal law, holidays designated by Congress apply to federal institutions and the District of Columbia. Banks, schools, and some businesses generally observe federal holidays, but the law is not required to do so.
Earlier this week, Krishnamoorthi also presented a resolution ârecognizing the religious and historical significanceâ of the festival.
Diwali will be commemorated on November 4.
âI wish a safe and happy Diwali to all families gathered with their loved ones to light lamps in their homes and pray for good health and peace for all,â he said.
According to Krishnamoorthi’s resolution, Diwali, also known as Deepavali, is a âtime of thanksgiving and prayer for health, knowledge and peaceâ. The festival is observed annually by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and others across the United States, including those from the Indo-American community.
During the festival, adherents light oil lamps and place them around their homes, praying for health, knowledge and peace.
In India, where the festival originates, and in other parts of the world, the festival lasts for five days and takes place at the end of the last month of the Hindu lunar calendar.
Many countries, including India, Fiji, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Singapore, observe Diwali as their national holiday.