Hindus want Diwali as school holiday in Cambridge

Last Updated: Sun, Dec 26, 2010 08:40 hrs

Hindus have applauded Cambridge School Committee (Massachusetts, USA) for reportedly declaring Eid as a school holiday from the next year in Cambridge Public Schools.

Well known Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement today, while congratulating the Committee for including this additional holiday, urged it to also add Diwali, the most important Hindu holy day, to the holiday calendar.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, called it "a step in the right direction". Awareness about other religions thus created by these holidays would make the Cambridge Public Schools' pupils well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow, Zed said and added that it would make District look good also besides bringing cohesion and unity in the community.

Rajan Zed further said that since it was important for Hindu families to celebrate Diwali day together at home with their children, we did not want our children to be deprived of any privileges at the school because of thus resulting absences on this day. ccording to Zed, Diwali, the festival of lights, aims at dispelling the darkness and lighting up the lives and symbolizes 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. In 2011, it falls on October 26.

Cambridge public schools had already declared First Day of Rosh Hashanah (September nine), Christmas Eve (December 24), and Good Friday (April 22) as holidays during the current school year. It has 12 elementary schools and one comprehensive high school serving about 6,000 students, and employs over 700 teachers and over 450 support personnel. School Committee, which determines overall School Department policy and budget, is chaired by Cambridge Mayor David Maher; while Jeffrey M. Young is District Superintendent. Oscar winner Hollywood stars Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Walter Brennan; Noble laureate Eric A. Cornell; Olympic Gold winners Frank Hussey, Patrick Ewing, Charles Jenkins; former Treasury Secretary Donald T. Regan; are some of the notable Cambridge Schools' alumni.

Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. (ANI)