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Diwali is Now an Official Holiday in The US State of Pennsylvania

Senators Greg Rothman and Nikil Saval introduced the legislation to declare Diwali as a state holiday in February.

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South Asians
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The northeastern state of Pennsylvania in the United States recently passed a bill recognising Diwali as a state holiday. 

"The Senate voted unanimously to recognise Diwali as an official holiday! To all Pennsylvanians who celebrate this festival of light and connection: you are seen, you are welcome, you matter. Thank you, @rothman_greg, for the opportunity to join you in introducing this bill," Senator Nikil Saval shared on Twitter this on Wednesday. 

Two Pennsylvania State Senators, Greg Rothman and Nikil Saval, introduced the legislation in February.

Pennsylvania is home to nearly 200,000 South Asian people, of which a large part celebrates the Hindu festival.

Senator Rothman highlighted that recognising Diwali as an official holiday in the state celebrates its cultural diversity.

 “Thousands of Pennsylvanians celebrate Diwali each year, including many residents of the 34th Senatorial District,” Rothman said in his statement. “Recognizing Diwali as an official state holiday upholds and celebrates our Commonwealth’s rich cultural diversity.”

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Sana Raje, a business owner who has lived in Pennsylvania for 25 years, believes it is a step towards inclusivity and is something the Indian community always hoped for. Speaking to The Quint, she said,

“To be felt included in a community we have been a part of for decades is a great thing. As immigrants, we just assumed that we would be a minority and would have to celebrate Diwali in our own house. But now, there can be a wider exchange of culture with other communities as well.”
Sana Raje

Pennsylvania is not the only state in the United States to declare Diwali as a federal holiday. The state of New York also passed a law in 2022, which declared Diwali a state holiday from 2023.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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