Hindus want Allentown School District (ASD) in Pennsylvania (USA) to add Diwali, the most popular Hindu holy day, to the holiday calendar.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, urging ASD 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 Allentown’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 ASD pupils well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow. It would make ASD 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. Besides Hindus, Sikhs and Jains and some Buddhists also celebrate Diwali, which falls on November three in 2013.
Zed points out that few school districts in the neighboring New Jersey have already declared Diwali as holiday, while New Jersey Department of Education includes Diwali in its “List of Religious Holidays Permitting Pupil Absence From School”. Zed stresses that all school districts across USA should declare Diwali as school holiday.
ASD, third largest urban school system in Pennsylvania whose history goes back to 1774, has 17,283 students in 21 schools and five alternative programs, who originate from 43 countries and speak 26 languages. Dr. C. Russell Mayo is Superintendent while Robert E. Smith Junior and Debra H. Lamb are President and Vice President respectively of its Board of School Directors.
Liberty Bell was successfully hidden in Allentown, Pennsylvania’s third most populous city and two-time winner of the All-America City Award, which was settled in 1751. Ed Pawlowski is the Mayor, while Julio Guridy and Ray O’Connell are President and Vice President respectively of the City Council of Allentown. Prominent people associated with Allentown include former Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca; actresses Amanda Seyfried, Michaela Conlin and Christine Taylor; football players Ed McCaffrey and Andre Reed; golfer Gloria Ehret; and author Lauren Weisberger.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.