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East Meadow School District Declares Diwali an Official School Holiday

East Meadow School District Declares Diwali an Official School Holiday


East Meadow School District (EMSD) declares Diwali an official holiday for the 2017-2018 school year calendar.

Students in the EMSD, in Westbury, will now have the day off for the Hindu holiday, Diwali.

Diwali is an annual holiday celebrated by Hindus, where, "They give expression to their happiness by lighting earthen 'diyas' (lamps), decorating the houses, bursting firecrackers and inviting near and dear ones to their households for partaking in a sumptuous feast. The lighting of lamps is a way of paying obeisance to god for attainment of health, wealth, knowledge, peace, valor and fame," according to the Society for the Confluence of Festivals in India.

In 2017 it will be celebrated on Oct. 19. East Meadow and Syosset are the only districts on Long Island that recognize Diwali. 

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed said that this is a step in the right direction, and urged all other public school districts and private schools in New York State to do the same, according to a press release."If schools had declared other religious holidays, why not Diwali?" said Zed. "Holidays of all major religions should be honored and no one should be penalized for practicing their religion."



Zed also noted that, "Awareness about other religions thus created by such holidays like Diwali would make New York State students well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow."

EMSD serves over 7,400 students in nine schools of East Meadow and Westbury communities of Long Island. Zed encouraged New York State Governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, to work towards adding Diwali as an official holiday in all 728 school districts.


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