Hindus are seeking a public holiday in the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) on Diwali, the most popular of their festivals, starting 2022.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that it was not fair to the USVI Hindu community because they have to be at work/school on their most popular festival while there were public holidays on other religious days.
Zed, who is president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, suggested that U.S.V.I Government needed to revisit its public holiday policies as it is a multicultural society. He urged Governor Albert Bryan Jr. and Lieutenant GovernorTregenza A. Roach to seriously examine this issue of fairness.
Rajan Zed stated that it was important for Hindu families to celebrate Diwali day together at home/temple. A public holiday on Diwali would ensure that, and it would be “a step in the positive direction.”
Zed noted that awareness about other religions thus created by such holidays like Diwali would strengthen cohesion and unity in the overall Virgin Islands citizenry and make them well-nurtured and enlightened citizens.
As an interfaith gesture, Rajan Zed urged leaders of other religions/denominations active in the V.I. to come out in support of Hindu brothers and sisters for Diwali holiday.
Zed further said that Hinduism is rich in festivals and religious festivals that are very dear and sacred to Hindus. Diwali, the festival of lights, aims at dispelling the darkness and lighting up the lives and symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Diwali falls on Monday, Oct. 24, in 2022.
Hinduism, the oldest and third largest religion in the world, has about 1.2 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in the USA.