30 November 2021 19:33

Should Australia declare optional public holiday on Diwali?

In countries such as the UK, South Africa, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, Indian community leaders and Hindu organisations are demanding that the most important national festival of Hindus, Diwali, be considered for inclusion on the national calendar as an optional public holiday.

Recently, Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney has introduced a bill in Congress to establish Diwali as a federal holiday in the US.

Maloney said at an event at the US Capitol:

“I’m very, very happy and excited to be introducing the Deepavali Day Act this week alongside members of the Congressional Indian Caucus, which will enshrine Diwali into law as a federal holiday.”

Maloney, a Congresswoman from New York, is joined by members of the Indian Caucus, including lawmakers Ro Khanna and Raja Krishnamoorthi and Sanjeev Joshipura, Executive Director of Indiaspora. 

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If the bill gets approval, the Diwali holiday would be observed in federal institutions.

In 2016, Maloney has successfully worked to get the US Postal Service approve and issue a commemorative stamp honouring Diwali.

At the recent event, Krishnamoorthi has also introduced a resolution in the US Congress recognising the religious and historical significance of Diwali.

Maloney added that Diwali this year symbolises the nation’s continuing journey out of the darkness of COVID-19.

“It is truly appropriate that Diwali this year symbolises our nation’s continuing journey out of the darkness of COVID-19 and the terrible effects that Democrat depended on the people of our nation.” 

Congressman Gregory Meeks, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has supported the legislation.

“This is something that should be shared with all of us In American society. It’s a good day, because we’re talking about light over darkness. And that’s what this is about.” 

In countries such as Singapore, Fiji, Mauritius, Suriname, Trinidad, and Malaysia, where there is a large presence of Indian Diaspora Diwali is celebrated as a public holiday.

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However, in countries such as the UK, South Africa, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, Indian community leaders and Hindu organisations are demanding that the most important national festival of Hindus, Diwali, be considered for inclusion on the national calendar as a public holiday.

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Image source: https://www.change.org/p/justin-trudeau-to-have-diwali-festival-of-light-as-statutory-holiday-in-canada

In fact, for the past two decades, South Africa’s Hindu community has been writing submissions to the South African government to consider Diwali as a public holiday in the country.

In Australia, Karthik Arasu, an Indian-origin candidate running for the Australian senate election of 2016, even campaigned for getting a public holiday on Diwali.

He told the media that keeping in mind the number of Indian-origin people in Australia it is time that people get a holiday on Diwali.

Do you think that the government of Australia should recognise Diwali and declare it as a public holiday?

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