In November, for the first time, more than 200 Millburn and Short Hills residents celebrated Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights that marks the beginning of the new year for Hindus, as a community.
Diwali is the biggest festival of Hindus and, for Hindus living in America, it’s hard for parents to expose kids to their religious beliefs.
In the past five years, an influx of Americans of Indian origin in Millburn and Short Hills has changed the demographics of our community.
At recent Millburn school board meetings, Hindu residents have expressed the need for observing a one-day school holiday on Diwali and requested that the board add it to the school calendar starting in 2014-15.
This would allow a large number of Hindus in the school district to celebrate with their kids in a meaningful way.
This request to recognize one of the major festivals celebrated in town is neither radical nor unreasonable. The White House has been celebrating Diwali for the past five years.
This is a historic decision and it will take an effort from all of us to recognize diversity in our community.