Skip to main content

New Jersey School District Embraces Diwali Holiday, Reflecting Community's Diversity

Scotch Plains

By: Richard L. Smith

The Scotch Plains-Fanwood Public Schools (SPFPS) in New Jersey has taken a significant step towards inclusivity by announcing the closure of its eight schools on Diwali, the most celebrated Hindu festival, scheduled for November 1 in the 2024-2025 school calendar.Real EstateThis decision marks a pivotal moment of recognition for the Hindu community in the district.

Rajan Zed, a prominent Hindu statesman and President of the Universal Society of Hinduism expressed his gratitude from Nevada today, acknowledging the school district's sensitivity to the needs of its Hindu students.

Zed highlighted the importance of Hindu families celebrating Diwali together at home, a tradition integral to their faith and community bonding.

He noted that this gesture by SPFPS not only shows respect and accommodation for the Hindu faith but also sets a positive precedent in meeting the spiritual and religious needs of its students.

With a significant number of Hindu students reported in the district, Zed sees the inclusion of Diwali as a public school holiday as a step forward in promoting religious understanding and diversity.

He also expressed hope that this would become a permanent feature in the school calendar, emphasizing the importance of recognizing the interplay between spirituality and education.

Zed further commented on the broader educational impact, suggesting that recognizing holidays such as Diwali fosters a greater awareness of diverse religions among all students, helping to nurture more well-rounded, balanced, and enlightened future citizens.

Diwali, known as the Festival of Lights, is celebrated by millions of Hindus worldwide. It symbolizes the victory of light over darkness and good over evil, embodying deeply held spiritual values.

Hinduism, as the world's oldest and third-largest religion, holds a rich tapestry of festivals, with Diwali being one of the most sacred.

The SPFPS, serving approximately 5,500 students from preschool through 12th grade, has shown a commitment to diversity and justice in its educational mission.

The district covers the diverse communities of the Township of Scotch Plains and the Borough of Fanwood.

It already recognizes other religious holidays, including Rosh Hashanah, Eid Al-Fitr, and observances over the Christmas and Easter periods, reflecting its inclusive approach to education.

Superintendent Dr. Joan Mast and Board President Evan Murray play pivotal roles in a district that not only focuses on academic subjects but also offers classes on chemical dependency and family life education, further emphasizing its comprehensive educational strategy.

This initiative by the SPFPS to include Diwali in their official calendar is a testament to their commitment to embracing the cultural and religious diversity of their student body, setting a commendable example for other school districts nationwide.

Real Estate