Hindus are seeking public holiday in New Jersey on Diwali, the most popular of their festivals, starting in 2022.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed said that it was not fair with New Jersey Hindu community as they had to be at work on their most popular festival while there were public holidays on other religious days.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, suggested that New Jersey government needed to revisit its public holiday policies as the New Jersey demographics had changed making it a multicultural society and Hindu populations were continuing to grow.
He urged New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy to seriously examine this issue of fairness.
New Jersey had 12 state holidays in 2020; including Good Friday, Christmas Day, etc.
Rajan Zed stated that it was important for Hindu families to celebrate Diwali day together at home/temple. Public holiday on Diwali would ensure that and it would be “a step in the positive direction”.
Zed noted that awareness about other religions thus created by such holidays like Diwali would strengthen cohesion and unity in the overall New Jersey citizenry and make them well-nurtured and enlightened citizens.
As an interfaith gesture; Rajan Zed urged Roman Catholic Archbishop of Newark Cardinal Joseph William Tobin and leaders of other religions/denominations active in New Jersey to come out in the support of Hindu brothers and sisters for Diwali holiday.
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. Diwali falls on Monday, October 24, in 2022.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about 1.2 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.