Hindus want Woodbridge Township School District (WTSD) in New Jersey (USA) to add Diwali, the most popular Hindu holy day, to the holiday calendar.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Connecticut (USA) today, urging WTSD to announce Diwali as school holiday, said that it was important for Hindu families to celebrate Diwali day together at home with their children. According to reports, Asians make-up sizeable part of Edison’s population and a large portion of those are of India descent.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, argued that awareness about other religions thus created by such holidays would make WTSD pupils well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow. It would make WTSD look good also besides bringing cohesion and unity in the community.
According to Rajan Zed, Diwali, the festival of lights, aims at dispelling the darkness and lighting up the lives and symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Hindus worship goddess of good fortune and beauty Lakshmi, god of wisdom and auspiciousness Ganesh, and mountain Goverdhan on this day. Also on this day, coronation of Lord Ram was held, Lord Hanuman was born, Lord Vishnu returned kingdom to monkey king Bali of Kiskindha, Lord Vishnu and goddess Lakshmi married, Lord Krishan killed demon Narakasur, and ancient king Vikramaditya was crowned. On this day of forgiveness, festivities, and friendliness; families and friends get together for worship followed by a sumptuous and elaborate feast. It is also considered a harvest festival. Zed stresses that all school districts across USA should declare Diwali as school holiday.
Zed points out that South Brunswick School District and Passaic City School District, both in New Jersey, have already declared Diwali as holiday. Los Angeles Unified School District (California) lists Diwali in its “Calendar of Commemorative Dates and Observances”, while New Jersey Department of Education includes Diwali in its “List of Religious Holidays Permitting Pupil Absence From School”. US President observed Diwali at White House in 2009. An official Diwali reception has reportedly been held at the New Zealand Parliament for the last few years. Two east London (United Kingdom) boroughs—Waltham Forest and Newham—have announced Diwali as school closure day in all the community primary and secondary schools. Besides Hindus, Sikhs and Jains and some Buddhists also celebrate Diwali.
Mission Statement of WTSD includes “providing a learning environment that fosters interdependence, embraces change, and values diversity” and all of its high schools are reportedly above the State average. Brian F. Small and Ezio Tamburello are its President and Vice President while Dr. John A. Crowe and Lois Rotella are Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent respectively.
John E. McCormac is the Mayor of Woodbridge Township, which was settled in 1664. Notable people associated with Woodbridge include musician Richie Sambora, Olympian Dagmara Wozniak, glassblower Clarence Madison Dally, wrestler Dawn Marie Psaltis, etc.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.