Congressman Crowley Recognizes Diwali with House Resolution

October 14, 2011
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans, introduced H.R. 439, a resolution to recognize Diwali, which marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year. This resolution underscores the respect Congress holds for the Indian-American community, as well as celebrates the strong and growing partnership between India and the U.S.  

“I am proud to introduce a resolution in celebration of Diwali, a holiday of great significance to millions of Indian-Americans and Indians around the world,” said Rep. Crowley. “As the representative of one of the largest Indian-American communities in the U.S., it is an honor to celebrate Diwali with my constituents, as well as those of Indian descent around the world.”

Known as the festival of lights, Diwali is a time for thanksgiving and prayer for health, knowledge and peace. The holiday marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year and is also celebrated widely by Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains. Diwali falls on the last day of the last month in the lunar calendar. This year, Diwali will be observed on Wednesday, October 26.

Below is the text from the resolution:

Recognizing the religious and historical significance of the festival of Diwali.

Whereas for millions of Indian-Americans, Diwali is a time for thanksgiving and prayer for health, knowledge and peace;

Whereas Diwali, a festival of great significance to Indian Americans, is celebrated annually by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and some Buddhists throughout the United States;

Whereas Diwali is a festival of lights, during which celebrants light small oil lamps, place them around the home, and pray for health, knowledge and peace;

Whereas celebrants of Diwali believe that the rows of lamps symbolize the light within the individual that rids the soul of the darkness of ignorance;

Whereas Diwali falls on the last day of the last month in the lunar calendar and is celebrated as a day of thanksgiving and the beginning of the New Year for many Hindus;

Whereas for Hindus, Diwali is a celebration of the return of god following the vanquishing of demonic forces;

Whereas for Sikhs, Diwali is feted as the day on which the sixth founding Sikh guru, Guru Hargobind, was released from captivity by the Mughal Emperor Jehangir;

Whereas for Jains, Diwali marks the anniversary of the attainment of Nirvana by Lord Mahavira, the last of the Tirthankaras (founders of the Jain philosophy); and

Whereas Diwali is a celebration of great importance in Indian-American communities throughout the United States: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

(1) recognizes the historical and religious significance of Diwali;

(2) in observance of Diwali, the festival of lights, expresses its deepest respect for Indian Americans and the Indian Diaspora throughout the world on this significant occasion.

(3) recognizes and appreciates the religious diversity in both India and the United States and throughout the world; and

(4) acknowledges and supports the relationship of collaboration and respect between the United States and India.

Congressman Crowley is a seven-term representative from the 7th Congressional District of New York, which includes sections of Queens and the Bronx. He is a member of the Ways and Means Committee and is a chief deputy whip in the Democratic leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives.