US state Pennsylvania declares Diwali as official holiday

With around 200,000 people thought to celebrate the Hindu festival in the state, its Senate voted unanimously to recognise Diwali as an official holiday


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Published: Thu 27 Apr 2023, 1:07 AM

The USA's Pennsylvania state has declared the Hindu festival of Diwali as a national holiday, Senator Nikil Saval tweeted on Wednesday.

"The Senate voted unanimously to recognise Diwali as an official holiday! To all Pennsylvanians who celebrate this festival of light and connection: you are seen, you are welcome, you matter. Thank you, @rothman_greg, for the opportunity to join you in introducing this bill," Senator Nikil Saval wrote on Twitter.

State Senator Greg Rothman and Senator Nikil Saval introduced a legislation to make Diwali an official state holiday in Pennsylvania in February this year, My Twin Tiers reported.

Nearly 200,000 South Asian residents reside in Pennsylvania, many of whom participate in Diwali as a time of reflection and gathering, My Twin Tiers reported.

"Thousands of Pennsylvanians celebrate Diwali each year, including many residents of the 34th Senatorial District," Rothman said, adding, "Recognising Diwali as an official state holiday upholds and celebrates our Commonwealth's rich cultural diversity."

"Every year, Diwali's festival of light and connection is celebrated at temples, houses of worship and community centres across our Commonwealth," said Saval.

"It's a time for reflection on the endless struggle of light over darkness, offering us renewed clarity of purpose. This festival deserves official recognition, and I'm honoured to join Senator Rothman in bringing this to pass," Saval added.

The day people celebrate Diwali varies from year to year, however this year it will be observed on November 12. Senate Bill 402 does not require school or government closings, My Twin Tiers reported.


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