Congresswoman Carolyn B Maloney announced introducing a bill in US Congress, legislation that would make Diwali a nationally recognized federal holiday. On Wednesday, the Democrat congresswoman from New York joined with Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, Congressman Gregory Meeks Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee announced the introduction of the Deepavali Day Act. “I want to start by wishing a Happy Diwali to all those celebrating around the world this week as the time of reflection and renewal that marks the Hindu New Year comes to a close,” said Rep Maloney. “This beautiful festival celebrates lightness over darkness, goodness over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. My bill today recognizes the importance of this beautiful holiday and gives it the respect and acknowledgement it deserves,” added Maloney.

If the bill gets approval in the coming years, the holiday would be observed in federal institutions, with significant populations that celebrate Diwali and honour the cultural heritage of millions of Indian Americans who celebrate the holiday in the United States. Representing the Indian American communities were advocates and members of the Indian diaspora. “I urge the United States Congress and Senate to pass this landmark legislation allowing all Americans and future generations to come to be able to observe this important holiday as it signifies the democratic values of light and truth triumphing over darkness and untruth as well as strengthening the bonds between the citizenry, families and communities across our nation,” said Dr Sumita Sen Gupta, Author, Educator, and Community Leader in New York.

“The United States holds the largest population of Deepavali (or Diwali) observers outside of Asia and for many Americans, the holiday marks the beginning of the new year in which friends, friends and communities come together to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil. As the first Indian American elected official in the State of New York, I understand the importance of communities being able to celebrate the festival of lights freely and through the passage of the Deepavali Holiday Act, all Americans will be able to fully observe the holiday without discrimination or persecution,” said Uma Sen Gupta, District Leader At Large in New York.

Congresswoman Maloney in the past has successfully worked with advocates across the country and led efforts in Congress urging the US Postal Service to approve and issue a commemorative stamp honouring Diwali, which has been in circulation since 2016. Maloney relentlessly fought for this cause as she felt that “a relatively small action would hold great meaning for millions of people.”