Hindus laud Passaic for declaring Diwali as schools' holiday

Passaic, USA - HINDUS HAVE applauded Passaic City School District (New Jersey, United States of America) for declaring Diwali as a school holiday, calling it 'a step in the right direction'.

According to 2010-2011 school calendar, Passaic Public Schools stay closed for one day in November for 'Diwali Observance'. Other religious closing days mentioned on 2010-2011 calendar are 'Rosh Hashanah' and 'Three Kings Day'.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA), said that awareness about other religions thus created by such holidays would make the Passaic City School District pupils well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow. It would make District look good also besides bringing cohesion and unity in the community.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that since it was important for Hindu families to celebrate Diwali day together at home with their children, we didn't want our children to be deprived of any privileges at the school because of thus resulting absences on this day. Closing schools on Diwali would ensure that. Zed urged all school districts across USA to declare Diwali as school holiday.

According to Rajan Zed, Diwali, the festival of lights, aims at dispelling the darkness and lighting up the lives and symbolises the victory of good over evil. Hindus worship goddess of good fortune and beauty Lakshmi, god of wisdom and auspiciousness Ganesh, and mountain Goverdhan on this day. Also on this day, coronation of Lord Ram was held, Lord Hanuman was born, Lord Vishnu returned kingdom to monkey king Bali of Kiskindha, Lord Vishnu and goddess Lakshmi married, Lord Krishan killed demon Narakasur, and ancient king Vikramaditya was crowned. On this day of forgiveness, festivities, and friendliness; families and friends get together for worship followed by a sumptuous and elaborate feast. It is also considered a harvest festival.

Passaic City School District, one of New Jersey's largest Abbott school districts, located about 12 miles west of New York City, has over 13,000 students in its 19 schools, where school uniforms are mandatory. Its 'mission' includes 'multicultural educational environment', while its 'core beliefs' include 'there is strength in diversity' and 'schools should be the catalyst for positive societal change'. Ronald Van Rensalier and Richard Diaz are president and vice president respectively of the school board. Dr Robert H Holster is superintendent, while Dr Lawrence E Everett is assistant superintendent.

Passaic, fastest growing city in New Jersey, was first settled in 1678 by Dutch traders. Prominent persons affiliated with it include: David Grisman (musician), Paul Rudd (actor), Mark DeRosa (baseball), Jack Mulhall (actor), David Packer (actor), Millie Perkins (actress), Dave Szott (football), etc. Dr Alex D Blanco is the Mayor while Gary Schaer is City Council President.