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Deepawali added as an official holiday in Howard County MD school district

Jan 15, 2016 The Howard County, Maryland, school district has recently added Hindu festival of Deepawali to make a more inclusive academic calendar for students. The decision titled Action on 2016-2017 Academic Calendar by Howard County Public School System, which manages 71 schools and serves nearly 50,000 students is indeed “historic.” According to the census bureau, the Asian demographic makes up around 16% of Howard County’s population-and the Indian ethnicity holds a significant representation in that percent. “Previously, Hindu community had advocated for the inclusion of its religious holidays, but did not succeed in getting their holidays recognized on the county's school calendar until now. The initiatives by World Hindu Council of America (VHPA) were met with the strong efforts of the HAF, and Chinmaya Mission in the advocacy process,” adds Shashikant, father of two children who attend school in HCPS, Maryland. Shashikant Sharma, an active volunteer of VHP of America, in Howard County Maryland, initiated the process. VHPA, HAF and the Hindu community worked collectively to convince the school board of HCPS regarding the importance of celebrating Hindu community’s traditional festivals such as Diwali. This academic year, students already have a day off from school on the Lunar New Year’s Eve, and now they will have the Diwali holiday off in the coming fall. VHP of America has plans to work with various school boards across many states to get official recognition of as major religious event for Hindu Americans. VHP Media Team

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According to the VHPA, Hindus are all those who believe, practice, or respect the spiritual and religious principles and practices having roots in Bharat. Thus Hindu includes Jains, Buddhas, Sikhs and Dharmic...