Hindus are urging South Africa to include Diwali, the most popular Hindu holy day, as a Public Holiday.
Currently South Africa has 12 public holidays (New Year’s Day, Human Rights Day, Good Friday, Family Day, Freedom Day, Workers’ Day, Youth Day, National Women’s Day, Heritage Day, Day of Reconciliation, Christmas Day, Day of Goodwill).
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that it was not fair with the South African 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, stressed that South African Government needed to revisit its public holiday policies as sizable number of its citizens were Hindus, who had made lot of contributions to the country. It was important to meet the religious and spiritual needs of South African Hindu families, Zed added.
Rajan Zed stated that it was paramount 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 bring more cohesion and unity in the overall South African citizenry and make them well-nurtured and enlightened citizens.
Rajan Zed 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. Besides Hindus, Sikhs and Jains and some Buddhists also celebrate Diwali, which falls on November 11 in 2015. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.