Welcoming Spring-Ford Area School District (SFASD) in Pennsylvania for reportedly proposing holiday on Diwali in its 2022-23 calendar; Hindus are urging all public school districts and private-charter-independent schools in Pennsylvania to close on their most popular festival Diwali. SFASD Board will consider this proposed calendar on January 24. “Diwali is being added to the calendar proposal”, SFASD Superintendent Robert W. Rizzo wrote in an email to distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed. Calendars are annually approved and Diwali will reportedly appear as part of future proposals for the Board to consider.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada today, said that holiday on Diwali in Pennsylvania schools would be a step in the positive direction in view of presence of a substantial number of Hindu students at schools around the state, as it was important to meet the religious and spiritual needs of Hindu pupils.
Rajan Zed indicated that since it was important for Hindu families to celebrate Diwali day together at home with their children; closing schools on Diwali would ensure that and would also display how respectful and accommodating Pennsylvania schools were to their faith.
If schools had declared other religious holidays, why not Diwali, Zed asked. Holidays of all major religions should be honored and no one should be penalized for practicing their religion, Zed added.
Rajan Zed suggested all Pennsylvania schools, public-private-charter-independent, to seriously look into declaring Diwali as an official holiday, thus recognizing the intersection of spirituality and education. Zed noted that awareness about other religions thus created by such holidays like Diwali would make Pennsylvania students well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow.
Zed urged Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania Education Secretary Noe Ortega and Pennsylvania Board of Education Chairperson Karen Farmer White to work towards adding Diwali as an official holiday in all the state’s public schools; and persuading the private-charter-independent schools to follow. Zed also thanked SFASD Board presided by Dr. Margaret Wright and Superintendent Rizzo for understanding the concerns of Hindu community.
Rajan Zed further says that Hinduism is rich in festivals and religious festivals are very dear and sacred to Hindus. Diwali, the festival of lights, aims at dispelling the darkness and lighting up the lives and symbolizes the victory of good over evil.
Hinduism is oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.2 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA. Diwali falls on October 24 in 2022.
SFASD, headquartered in Royersford, is comprised of the townships of Limerick and Upper Providence and the boroughs of Royersford and Spring City; and has a combined land area of 44.4 square miles. “Where today’s achievements equal tomorrow’s successes” is its tagline.