Hindus are seeking public holiday in Sint Maarten (SXM) on Diwali, the most popular of their festivals; starting 2022.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that it was not fair with SXM Hindu community as they had to be at work/school on their most popular festival while there were public holidays on other religious days.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, suggested that SXM Government needed to revisit its public holiday policies as the SXM is a multicultural society. He urged SXM Prime Minister Silveria E. Jacobs and Governor Eugene Bernard Holiday to seriously examine this issue of fairness.
Public holidays in SXM in 2020 included Good Friday, Easter, Ascension Day, Whit Sunday, Christmas, Boxing Day, etc.
Rajan Zed stated that it was important for Hindu families to celebrate Diwali day together at home/temple. 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 SXM citizenry and make them well-nurtured and enlightened citizens.
As an interfaith gesture; Rajan Zed urged leaders of other religions/denominations active in SXM to come out in the support of Hindu brothers and sisters for Diwali holiday.
further says that Hinduism is rich in festivals and religious festivals 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, October 24, in 2022.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about 1.2 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.
Sint Maarten, in the Caribbean, is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Philipsburg is the capital.