Declaring Diwali Official Holiday, Pennsylvania Goes Ahead of Other US States with High Indian-origin Population

Diwali, a most auspicious festival for Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists the world over, is gradually being recognized across the northeast USA. The years of tireless efforts that Indian Diaspora continues to make to get an official holiday on Diwali in America is bearing fruit in some parts of the northeast coast. In 2022, the Mayor of New York City gave the best Diwali gift to Indian New Yorkers by declaring the Festival of Lights as a public school holiday, which will be effective from Diwali 2023.

Pennsylvania took a step ahead of New York and New Jersey by recognizing Diwali not just as a public school holiday but as a state holiday. Yesterday, the Pennsylvania State Senate passed a bill with an official stamp to this recognition, which was long due. The bill was brought to the state Senate in February this year. Nikil Saval, an Indian American writer, activist, politician, and a Senator from Philadelphia, broke the news through a tweet.

Pennsylvania Indians, Pennsylvania Diwali holiday, Indian American news, USA Diwali holiday

PC: Wikipedia (left), Indian Eagle (right)

The ethnically diverse fabric of Pennsylvania includes over 600,000 Asian Americans, a majority of whom are of Indian descent. The state is home to many Indian temples; the most prominent ones being BAPS Swaminarayan Temple, Sri Venkateshwara Temple, and Sri Shirdi Sai Baba Temple. Diwali being now an official holiday in Pennsylvania is a great move to celebrate ethnic diversity and promote cultural inclusivity in the state.

Born to an immigrant couple from Bengaluru, Nikil is the first Indian-origin Senator in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Arvind Venkat, who was born in Madurai and brought up in Detroit, is another Democrat in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Nikil Saval officially stated, “Our Commonwealth’s official recognition of Diwali sends a clear message of inclusion to thousands of Pennsylvanians who celebrate this festival of light and connection each year. You are seen, you are welcome, you matter.”

“Officially, Pennsylvania is the first US state to have declared Diwali a public holiday. The rest of North America is yet to reward the efforts by Indians to get the festival of lights recognized as an official holiday. Surprisingly, Pennsylvania outshone other US states, such as California, Texas, Illinois, New York and New Jersey, with the largest numbers of Indian-origin people. However, it seems that the day is not far when the Deepavali Day Act, which was introduced on the Capitol in 2021 and supported by leading Indian Americans, will make Diwali a federal holiday in the US,” said Sourav Agarwal, the Editor of Travel Beats.

cheap flight tickets to India from USA, USA to India cheap business class flights, Indian Eagle's best deals for flights to India

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *