Diwali: Light Up Basking Ridge

Sri Guttikonda ‘20

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The United States is melting pot of traditions, holidays, and cultures: all of which have shaped the country into the way it is today. As a country we seek to appreciate and respect these customs in any way possible, a prominent example being school holidays. With days off for holidays such as  Yom Kippur and Christmas, schools have taken a huge leap to acknowledge their students’ various cultural backgrounds, however many people forgot to acknowledge an integral Hindu holiday, Diwali. With around 3 million Hindus in the United States, their prominence and contribution in the community increases everyday [1].

In turn, the proper response for our school to support the growing Hindu population in our community and school is to declare  holiday encouraging a large number of Hindus to celebrate their holiday without infringements. Austin Segal ‘20 states that, “Ridge should be closed for Diwali so that our Hindu students can remain culturally connected without sacrificing a day of learning.” In fact, Edison Township Public Schools adopted a school holiday for Diwali this year, which was received well by the population in the town. Citizens  adopted this holiday with open arms, initiating a successful decision for other districts such as our own to follow [2]. Not to mention, various parents have been fighting for this holiday for quite some time. Holidays for Christmas and Yom Kippur aim to reconnect students to their roots and their familial origins. Ashna Gupta ‘21 claims, “it is the one holiday where I can spend time with my entire family and bond of a culture we all share and mutually embrace.” In order to respect the wishes of our community, it is our duty as school to grant student’s a day of for Diwali.

[1]https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/indian-immigrants-united-states

[2]https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/religion/hindus-in-new-jersey-school-district-want-a-day-off-for-diwali/2014/02/25/db4726a0-9e51-11e3-878c-65222df220eb_story.html?utm_term=.cde1a2d532dd

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