United States Representative Grace Meng, a Democrat from New York, is pushing legislation in Congress to designate Diwali, known as the Festival of Lights, as a federal holiday.
If enacted, Meng’s Diwali Day Act would make Diwali the twelfth federally recognized holiday in the United States, enabling family celebrations and showcasing the nation’s diverse cultural identity.
Meng, who also holds the position of first vice chair of the Congressional Asian-Pacific American Caucus, highlighted the importance of the proposed legislation, saying, “America’s strength is derived from the diverse experiences, cultures, and communities that make up this nation.”
The congresswoman’s ongoing advocacy for state and local recognition of Diwali, Lunar New Year, and Eid aligns with the ethos of this bill. She is also putting forth efforts to have Diwali acknowledged as a school holiday in her home city of New York.
Diwali, celebrated by a wide range of South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Indo-Caribbean communities, symbolizes the victory of good over evil and knowledge over ignorance.
The proposed legislation received support from various local and national leaders. New York Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar, the first Indian American woman elected to New York State office, applauded Meng’s initiative, stating, “My extraordinary partner in government Congresswoman Meng is now taking the movement national with her historic legislation to make Diwali a federal holiday.”
The bill is seen as a stride forward in acknowledging the diverse American demographic and the significant cultural celebrations that strengthen it. Diwali will be celebrated this year on November 12.