BILLS IN MICHIGAN TO RECOGNISE DIWALI, EID AS OFFICIAL HOLIDAYS
New York: Three legislators, including an Indian-American, in the Michigan State House have introduced a set of bills to establish festivals like Diwali and Eid as official state-recognised holidays.
Led by Majority Floor Leader in the House, Abraham Aiyash, and state representatives Ranjeev Puri and Sharon MacDonell, introduced the legislation to make Diwali, Vaisakhi, Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha and Lunar New Year as official holidays in Michigan. House Bills 4446 and 4449, introduced by Puri, establish Diwali and Vaisakhi as state holidays.
“Celebrating our cultural diversity is a cornerstone of a vibrant and inclusive society. By recognising these holidays, we are not only showing our respect and appreciation for the traditions and beliefs of our fellow Michiganders, but we are also sending a powerful message of inclusion and unity,” Puri said.
A Hindu religious festival, Diwali celebrates the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance, and Vaisakhi is a spring harvest festival celebrated by both Hindus and Sikhs, a statement released by Michigan House Democrats read.
“These bills embrace the diverse fabric of our state by recognising various religious and cultural holidays,” Aiyash said, introducing Bill 4447, which calls for Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr as state holidays. “Making these holidays official state holidays will let Michigan’s many communities know that they have a place in our great state and deserve to celebrate their joyous occasions like everyone else.”
At present, Michigan has 12 officially recognised holidays, including Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year, Juneteenth, and Martin Luther King Jr Day among the notable ones. Close to 900,000 Asian Americans live in Michigan, with Indian-Americans making up the largest subgroup, according to Indian American Impact.
Most South Asians reside in Detroit and the surrounding area, in places like Troy, Novi, and Farmington Hills. Recently, Pennsylvania declared Diwali as a national holiday after senators, Greg Rothman and Nikil Saval introduced a legislation in February this year.