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US Congresswoman Carolyn B Mahoney.
US Congresswoman Carolyn B Mahoney.

Legislation to make Diwali a federal holiday in US

ANI | Updated: Nov 04, 2021 05:00 IST

By Reena Bhardwaj
Washington [US], November 4 (ANI): Congresswoman Carolyn B Mahoney announced introducing a bill in US Congress, legislation that would make Diwali a nationally recognized federal holiday.
On Wednesday, the Democrat congresswoman from New York joined with Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, Congressman Gregory Meeks Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee announced the introduction of the Deepavali Day Act.
"I want to start by wishing a Happy Diwali to all those celebrating around the world this week as the time of reflection and renewal that marks the Hindu New Year comes to a close," said Rep Maloney.
"This beautiful festival celebrates lightness over darkness, goodness over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. My bill today recognizes the importance of this beautiful holiday and gives it the respect and acknowledgement it deserves," added Maloney.
"I am proud to join Chairwoman Maloney and our colleagues in introducing this legislation to establish Diwali as a federal holiday in recognition of its importance to our nation's more than three million Americans of Indian descent, including Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains," said Rep Krishnamoorthi.
"The meaning of this legislation extends beyond honouring the significance of Diwali to the Indian-American community to acknowledging the contributions of Indian-Americans to our nation," added Krishnamoorthi.
"I am proud to support Congresswoman Maloney's resolution to make Diwali a federal holiday. The United States of America is about celebrating the different cultures that make us one," said Rep Meeks.
"I understand the importance of the festival of lights and hope we can soon make this a reality for members of the Indian diaspora in my district and Indian Americans all over the country," added Meeks.

"Every year, I join more than six million Americans in celebrating Diwali, a festival of lights, signifying the victory of light over darkness," said Rep Ro Khanna (D-CA).
"I am proud to co-sponsor this bill with Representative Maloney to recognize Diwali as a federal holiday and know how meaningful this will be to many families across the country," added Khanna.
If the bill gets approval in the coming years, the holiday would be observed in federal institutions, with significant populations that celebrate Diwali and honour the cultural heritage of millions of Indian Americans who celebrate the holiday in the United States.
Representing the Indian American communities were advocates and members of the Indian diaspora.
"I urge the United States Congress and Senate to pass this landmark legislation allowing all Americans and future generations to come to be able to observe this important holiday as it signifies the democratic values of light and truth triumphing over darkness and untruth as well as strengthening the bonds between the citizenry, families and communities across our nation," said Dr Sumita Sen Gupta, Author, Educator, and Community Leader in New York.
"The United States holds the largest population of Deepavali (or Diwali) observers outside of Asia and for many Americans, the holiday marks the beginning of the new year in which friends, friends and communities come together to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil. As the first Indian American elected official in the State of New York, I understand the importance of communities being able to celebrate the festival of lights freely and through the passage of the Deepavali Holiday Act, all Americans will be able to fully observe the holiday without discrimination or persecution," said Uma Sen Gupta, District Leader At Large in New York.
"For humanity, the biggest struggles stem from inequality, unrighteousness and tyranny. Similar to Christmas, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Independence Day and Juneteenth, on Deepavali we reflect and celebrate the victory over the darkest times in our history to recommit ourselves towards ushering in a new period of peace, enlightenment and prosperity. Deepavali is a holiday that transcends religion, culture or class and I support the Deepavali National Holiday Act to become law," said Dr Urmilesh Arya, National President of the Association for Indian Americans.
Congresswoman Maloney in the past has successfully worked with advocates across the country and led efforts in Congress urging the US Postal Service to approve and issue a commemorative stamp honouring Diwali, which has been in circulation since 2016.
Maloney relentlessly fought for this cause as she felt that "a relatively small action would hold great meaning for millions of people."
"Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is recognition of the light within all of us," said Sanjeev Joshipura, the Executive Director of Indiaspora.
"Observed by a plurality of faiths, including Sikhs, Jains, Hindus and Buddhists, it is an acknowledgement to pursue the good that is there in all of us, and we hope that is a message that can be universally shared," said Joshipura. (ANI)