HINDUS HAVE applauded Burlington School Board, Vermont, United States of America) for declaring Yom Kippur and Eid al-Fitr as school holidays.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement, while congratulating the Board for these two additional holidays, 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 Burlington School District 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. It would also go well with the district ‘mission’, which is to ensure that all students achieve their highest intellectual and personal potential and are prepared to contribute as global citizens in the 21st century.
Rajan Zed further said that since it was important for Hindu families to celebrate Diwali 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.
According to 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. This year it falls on November five.
Children's Health Magazine rated Burlington the best place to raise a family. Burlington is the largest and most diverse city in Vermont, where 47 different languages are reportedly spoken. Jeanne Collins is the Superintendent of Burlington School District while Frederick S Lane is its Board Chairman. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.