Led by Congresswoman Carolyn B Maloney from New York, lawmakers on Wednesday announced that a bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives to declare Diwali, festival of lights, a federal holiday.
"I'm very, very happy and excited to be introducing the Deepavali Day Act this week alongside members of the Congressional Indian Caucus, which will enshrine Diwali into law as a federal holiday," Maloney said at an event at the US Capitol.
The historic legislation is co-sponsored by a number of lawmakers including Indian-American Congresswoman Raja Krishnamoorthi,
Krishnamoorthi has also introduced a resolution in the US Congress recognising the religious and historical significance of Diwali.
Maloney said that Diwali this year symbolises the nation's continuing journey out of the darkness of COVID-19.
"I am very proud to celebrate with you the victory of light over darkness, the triumph of good over evil and the pursuit of knowledge over ignorance as we do every day. It is truly appropriate that Diwali this year symbolises our nation's continuing journey out of the darkness of COVID-19 and the terrible effects that Democrat depended on the people of our nation," she said.
Celebrations like Diwali speak to the core of what we all desire for our nation to be a beacon of happiness, healing, learning and light and uncertain times. My colleagues, Indian-American community leaders and I believe that there is no better time to enshrine Diwali as a federal holiday than in the wake of this terrible dark pandemic, Maloney said.
Powerful Congressman Gregory Meeks, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, supported the legislation.
This is something that should be shared with all of us In American society. It's a good day, because we're talking about light over darkness. And that's what this is about, Meeks said.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee will be supporting this and advocating and moving forward with this great bill, he said.
Krishnamoorthi said: On this holiday of Diwali, we should say, be the light you wish to see in the world. Be the light in your community that is needed to dispel the darkness. Be the light in this community that brings hope to the hopeless. Let us be the light that helps the last, the least and the last.
That is what Diwali is about. And that is why Diwali needs to be a federal holiday, Krishnamoorthi said, adding that Diwali is also about celebrating Indian-Americans.