Diwali is a festival of lights taking place on October 24, 2022 and is one of the most popular festivals celebrated by Hindus, Janis and Sikhs. In Collin County, the celebration is observed only in Farmersville and Melissa Independent School Districts, but the Hindu community is trying to change that.
On Friday, August 19, Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, said that because it is vital for families to stay together when celebrating Diwali, closing schools during the festival would help families observe the festivity as well as show how respectful and accommodating these schools are.
Diwali celebrates the victory of good versus evil and has deep spiritual meaning for Hindus all across the world. The five-day-long festivity is full of excitement, lights, color and feasts. Although the religious significance of Diwali varies regionally within India, marking different historical events and stories, the festival represents the same symbolic victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance and good over evil.
Hinduism is the fourth-largest religion in America, and North Texas is no stranger to Diwali. According to WFAA, last year a temple at Frisco received 1,000 people for the celebration, while Irving had over 7,000 people attending the festival.
“In Hindu scriptures, it’s our New Years. It’s about light, it’s about color, and it’s about having fun,” told to WFAA Akshay Wani, last year’s lead event coordinator for the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan temple in Irving.
In a statement, Zed said that by declaring Diwali an official holiday, schools would be taking a step in the positive direction for the considerable number of Hindu students in Collin County. He added that creating awareness about “other” religions by observing celebrations like Diwali, would make all students well-nurtured, well-balanced and enlightened citizens of tomorrow.
This year, with many services getting back to pre-COVID levels of demand, keep an eye out for celebrations near you, they promise to be even more popular.
In case you missed it, here’s Local Profile’s report on Richardson and Plano ISDs getting ready for the school year.