Nationwide organization pushing for Diwali Hindu holiday to be observed in Fresno schools

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Every year 1.2 billion Hindu people across the world celebrate the Diwali holiday.

The holiday is Hinduism's Celebration of Light.

President of the Universal Society of Hinduism, Rajan Zed, has been pushing for the holiday to be recognized by school districts in the United States.

"All the religions should be respected because schools are off during festivities of some religions, so why not Diwali," says Zed.

Fresno's Hindu Temple Priest, Sidharth (Sid-Hart) Sarangi, estimates there are around 20,000 Hindus in the Central Valley area.

Sarangi says it is only possible for families to spend the holiday together if both parents and students have it off.

"Some people think it should be a day that is a holiday. But mostly here, people choose the weekend to celebrate the rituals," mentions Sarangi.

The organization is focusing on areas that have large Hindu populations.

The goal for Zed is to spread cultural awareness on Hinduism.

Zed explains, "If they know each other's traditions, there will be more harmony in the workplace and in the neighborhood. So I think when they give Diwali off, it will be very nurturing for other communities also."

He has reached out to multiple districts in Fresno County. So far, only one district has responded.

Zed says, "Fresno Unified School District superintendent replied and he said he appreciates our concerns and sympathizes with us but it is beyond his power, so we have to figure out how to work it around, you know."

He mentions his organization will keep pushing until the holiday is officially observed.

Diwali lands on October 24th this year.
Copyright © 2022 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.