There are a handful of holidays that Hoosiers, and the rest of the country, can count on each year. For most of us, days like Christmas and Thanksgiving mean a day off from school and/or work.

Those two days in particular are traditional American holidays, and while they are celebrated by a majority of us, millions of Americans recognize different cultural holidays. Don't those people deserve a day off, too? Should we create holidays for celebrations and events that are considered "non-traditional" or "non-American"

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Those questions are being asked by politicians around the country, and at least one state that we know of is saying YES.

New York State Adds Two New Holidays

In late 2023, Governor Kathy Hochul officially signed into law two new state holidays for New York. The Asian Lunar New Year and Diwali will be recognized in 2024.

What and When is the Asian Lunar New Year?

People Celebrate The Spring Festival In China
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Unlike the American calendar, which celebrates a new year every 365 days, the Lunar New Year occurs just about every 354 years. In many Asian cultures, the Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is the most important holiday of the year.

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In 2024, the Lunar New Year celebration begins on Saturday, February 10th, and continues for 16 days. This year, by the way, is the year of the dragon, which you gotta admit is pretty cool.

What is Diwali and Who Celebrates it?

Hindus Celebrate Diwali In Ayodhya
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India's biggest and most important holiday of the year is called Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights. It is celebrated over five days (November 1-6 in 2024) by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains.

For many people, Diwali honors the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity, Lakshmi. The lights and lamps are said to help Lakshmi find her way into peoples’ homes, bringing prosperity in the year to come! It is said that Diwali is as important to Hindus as Christmas is to Christians.

Will/Should Indiana Recognize These Holidays?

Adding these "new" holidays makes sense for a state like New York which has a large and diversified population, but what about here in the Hoosier state? There is no question that we have residents who celebrate the Lunar New Year and/or Diwali - the question is are there enough of those residents to add those holidays? Is there a number or percentage of people that would justify adding a holiday to our calendar? Should we add holidays like that but make them optional?

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If we truly want to be more inclusive, then I think these are questions we should consider. What do you think?

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