BY TRISHA SAKHUJA
As the major candidates for Mayor have come out in favor of adding two Islamic holidays to the academic calendar, Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) is pushing to add another holiday to the mix.
Diwali celebrants across the world will light lanterns to symbolize the inner light to dispel ignorance and darkness on Sunday. But next year, the holiday falls on a Thursday and in 2015, on Wednesday, so thousands of public school students across the City will have to make a choice, whether to attend school or celebrate with their families at home.
Diwali or Deepwali, known as the festival of lights, is a five-day holiday celebrated across the world by millions practicing Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism.
As Diwali is the most important festival on the Hindu calendar, Dromm held a press conference on Oct. 17 in Jackson Heights, along with State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) and community leaders, to announce the Diwali School Holiday resolution he filed in July.
Since then, 15 council members have voiced their support for the resolution. Dromm is hopeful the Dept. of Education will make Diwali an official day off for public school students in time for next year’s Diwali.
While adding Diwali to the academic calendar is currently in the works, Ranju Batra, chair of the Diwali stamp project and former President of the Association of Indians in America-NY, along with the support of U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria) and many other elected officials, have urged the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee to issue a commemorative Diwali stamp.
“Holiday stamps are a message of peace,” said Batra. “It is very important for the Indian community and our kids for generations to come.”
The issue of Diwali stamps also carries an economic benefit because it would provide the United States Postal Service with some much needed revenue.
Reach Trisha Sakhuja at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Tsakhuja13.