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Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

“What about Diwali?” — Mounds View to Diwali recognized as holiday

Two Mounds View students recently collaborated with the school board to advocate for recognizing Diwali as a religious holiday and having it removed as a school day.
Mounds+View+High+School+seniors+Hridaya+Ghosh+and+Pratham+Snehi+pose+for+a+selfie+with+Mounds+View+School+Board+members.
Hridaya Ghosh
Mounds View High School seniors Hridaya Ghosh and Pratham Snehi pose for a selfie with Mounds View School Board members.

The Mounds View Public School District has become increasingly more diverse in recent years. To make room for inclusion, the district has implemented more days off during the school year to include more cultural holidays. But it wasn’t until last semester, when two seniors wondered, “What about Diwali?” that the popular Indian holiday was added to the calendar as a religious holiday and given off to students beginning next school year. 

Diwali is a holiday celebrated by more than a billion people worldwide and over 50,000 Hindus, Sikhs and Jains in Minnesota. The holiday symbolizes the victory of good over evil. This is significant to many Hindus, Sikhs and Jains because it honors history for many and allows worshippers to grow spiritually, have inner self-reflection and renew bonds with loved ones.

When senior Hridaya Ghosh and her mother looked over the changed calendar for the 2024-2025 school year, they were surprised to see no mention of Diwali. “When Eid and Rosh Hashanah were added to the school calendars, […] my mom was like, ‘We should have the Diwali too because the Hindu students deserve representation in their school calendars too,’” said Ghosh. Another concern was how busy families who celebrate get around the holiday. “So that we could also have a chance to fully celebrate our culture and our religion without having to deal with the stress of schoolwork on top of it all,” said Ghosh. 

Coming from India, this was a momentous occasion with days of celebration for senior Pratham Snehi, so it was a disappointing surprise to see how little acknowledgment this holiday had in Minnesota. “But coming here, there wasn’t any kind of holiday so we had to celebrate all of this while having to go to school the next day. So it was kind of a bummer,” says Snehi. 

This convinced Ghosh and Snehi to advocate for the recognition of Diwali in their civic engagement project in AP Government. “I believe a lot of people did not know about this, but they definitely know it now,” said Snehi. 

Aided by their teacher, Ms. Carlson, who directed them on how to raise the issue with the school board, Ghosh and Snehi reached out in hopes that they would address it. After contacting the school board secretary, they scheduled an in-person meeting with the school board and discussed their proposal, meeting little resistance except for concern over the date of Diwali. 

After discovering that the proposal was approved, Snehi and Ghosh felt a sense of accomplishment. They were happy to see it had an effect on the many students who celebrate Diwali. “[There was] A Sikh guy in my class who was like, ‘That’s so important for us. I’m so glad you’re doing that,’” said Ghosh. 

Through their advocating for the holiday came their realization that students can make change within the school. With this recent accomplishment, they hope minorities at Mounds View will feel encouraged to engage with their culture more openly, advocate for their identities and reach out to those who want to make students’ voices heard. “[The school board is] so kind and they want to help you, and as long as you advocate for yourself, you can get anything accomplished,” said Ghosh. 

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About the Contributor
Suha Sharif, Staff Reporter
Suha is a junior staff reporter, and this year is her first year on The Viewer.
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