The bill â€œrecognizes othersâ€™ cultures, contributing to the wonderful tapestry that is Utahâ€
Lawmakers at the Utah Senate passed a bill unanimously that will make Diwali a state commemorative period and allow the sale and discharge of fireworks during the five days of Diwali.
Sponsored by Sen. Lincoln Fillmore, Senate Bill 46 seeks to include Diwali as part of Utahâ€™s commemorations, ABC4 reported.
If passed, SB 46 designates Diwali to be celebrated on the 15th day of the Hindu lunisolar month of Kartik, which happens usually between late October to early November. This year, Diwali will fall on Nov 12.
Read: Utah Senate, House pass resolution honoring Sikh community (February 6, 2023)
â€œI appreciate Utahâ€™s Indian community,â€ Fillmore said. â€œTheir collaborative efforts to organize events to include the neighboring communities, as well as their efforts to increase education about Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism, have helped create a better sense of understanding in our state. This bill recognizes othersâ€™ cultures, contributing to the wonderful tapestry that is Utah.â€
The Indian festival of lights, is celebrated by people from many religions, including Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism. People who observe Diwali light up small oil lamps known as diyas in their houses and temples during the five-day celebration.
The bill will be scheduled for a third reading at the Utah Senate in the near future.
Meanwhile, New York State assemblyâ€™s Indian American member Jenifer Rajkumar is pushing for a bill to designate Diwali as a holiday in New York City public schools.
Rajkumar, who made history as the first South Asian-American woman elected to a state office, says she has support for the bill from New York City Mayor Eric Adams and from more than 30 state lawmakers.
â€œThe time has come to recognize over 200,000 Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist New Yorkers,â€ said Rajkumar at a rally in support of the bill at the Capitol in Albany last month.
â€œTo these communities, New York state says â€˜we see you.â€™ After two decades of advocacy by the South Asian diaspora in New York City, our time has come.â€
Read: Utah Senate passes bill to allow fireworks during Diwali celebration (February 3, 2023)
â€œAs the great Shirley Chisholm said, â€™If they donâ€™t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair,’â€ the assemblywoman said in a release. â€œI have brought this bill to the table to make sure all of our New American communities have a seat at the table.â€
In 2021, the Diwali Day Act was introduced in the US to declare the festival a federal holiday.