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A New America: How Key American Political Players are Recognizing and Celebrating the Non-American Diaspora of the Nation

As 2023 came to an end, the residents of New York were gifted with two extra days off for the upcoming year as they walked into the new year. In 2023, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed two legislations to approve two festivals as state holidays, starting from the year, 2024. These two festivals were: The Asian Lunar New Year and the Hindu festival of Diwali. In the month of September 2023, Governor Hochul signed a legislation, officially declaring the Asian Lunar New Year as a public-school holiday, across the New York State.

Governor Hochul addressed the media present at the signing, saying that by taking this step and signing a legislation declaring the Lunar New Year as an official school holiday, her government is recognizing, and appreciating, the existence and involvement of New York’s APPI community in the New York City’s pool of ethnicities.

The Asian Lunar New Year 

She further stated that this not just a day off. This is a chance to learn about new cultures and traditions outside of the US, and more importantly, it a chance to learn how even though all of us different, we as humans, have the power to celebrate these differences and live in harmony.

The newly signed resolution will be put into action in the year 2024, ensuring that schools in the New York State are not operating on the Lunar New Year. The new legislation ensures schools are not in session on Lunar New Year. The new law requires that all public schools close for the Lunar New Year holiday. The Lunar New Year occurs in February, more specifically on the second new moon after the December 21st winter solstice.

The Festival of Diwali 

Governor Hochul introduced and signed the second legislation in the month of November 2023. She signed the legislation that made the Hindu festival of Diwali a recognized holiday for New York city public schools. While addressing the media gathered at the signing, she talked about the rich diversity of New York City, stating the sign of this second legislation as an “important step” towards recognizing and celebrating New York City’s diversity, in addition to educating the upcoming generation about traditions, cultures, practices, and beliefs from across the globe.

Diwali is one of India’s biggest and most important festivals, popularly known and referred to as the festival of lights. This festival marks the return of Lord Ram to his birthplace Ayodhya after defeating several challenges, which is celebrated as a representation of how good always triumphs over evil.

Over a billion people across the world celebrate the auspicious occasion of Diwali, a fact that was not hidden from Hochul and her team. State Senator Joseph Addabbo addressed the legislation, expressing his pleasure at its signing and acknowledging the presence, and contribution of Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists in constructing the bustling city of New York. He also stated that the people of New York also understood the significance of Diwali as a festival, and through this legislation, Hochul’s office also wishes to celebrate, and spread its importance through the entire state.

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