Legislators announce bill package to recognize new state holidays

Michigan lawmakers are introducing legislation to establish the holidays of Diwali, Vaisakhi, Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha and Lunar New Year as official state-recognized holidays in Michigan.

“These bills embrace the diverse fabric of our state by recognizing various religious and cultural holidays,” House Majority Floor Leader Abraham Aiyash (D-Hamtramck) said. “Making these holidays official state holidays will let Michigan’s many communities know that they have a place in our great state and deserve to celebrate their joyous occasions like everyone else.”

The bills are not yet available on the Michigan Legislature website.

House Bill 4447, sponsored by Aiyash, establishes Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr as state holidays.

Eid al-Fitr marks the completion of Ramadan, an Islamic month of fasting, spirituality and charity. Eid al-Adha celebrates Prophet Abraham and his son’s servitude and faithfulness to God. It also falls during the annual Holy Pilgrimage, Hajj, in which Muslims travel to the holy city of Mecca, the most sacred site in Islam. The holidays are marked by group prayer, spending time with family and friends and gift-giving.

House Bill 4446, sponsored by Rep. Ranjeev Puri (D-Canton), establishes Diwali as a state holiday. Diwali is a Hindu religious festival, which celebrates the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. This celebration lasts five days and is observed by people around the world.

House Bill 4449, sponsored by Puri, establishes Vaisakhi, the celebration of the spring harvest, as a state holiday. Vaisakhi is celebrated by both Hindus and Sikhs and includes holding festivals, spending time with friends and family and gift-giving.

“Celebrating our cultural diversity is a cornerstone of a vibrant and inclusive society. By recognizing these holidays, we are not only showing our respect and appreciation for the traditions and beliefs of our fellow Michiganders, but we are also sending a powerful message of inclusion and unity,” Puri said.

“Together, we can create a Michigan that is truly welcoming and accepting of all people, regardless of their background or beliefs. Let’s celebrate these holidays with joy and gratitude, and let’s show the world what it truly means to be a Michigander.”

State Rep. Sharon MacDonell (D-Troy) has sponsored House Bill 4448, which establishes Lunar New Year as a state holiday. It is a celebration of the arrival of spring and the beginning of a new year on the lunisolar calendar. Lunar New Year is one of the most important celebrations of the year among East and Southeast Asian cultures, including Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean communities, among others.

“Many people in my district and across the state celebrate the Lunar New Year,” MacDonell said. “It is time that our state recognizes and celebrates holidays from cultures all around the world. This bill will do just that. By recognizing the Lunar New Year as a state holiday, we ensure that the Asian American community receives the recognition it deserves.”

Rising Voices, a progressive nonprofit that promotes the civic participation of Asian-American women and families in the electoral and public policy process, supports the legislative efforts.

“Asian Americans are the fastest-growing demographic in Michigan with communities that celebrate the rich traditions of their families, contributing to the vibrant fabric of our state,” said Jasmine Rivera, Rising Voices communications director. “Recognizing these holidays as official state holidays acknowledges the diversity and cultural significance of Asian Americans and provides an opportunity for all Michiganders to learn and participate in the joyous and meaningful celebrations of the Lunar New Year, Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr, Vaisakhi, and Diwali across the state each year.

“The Michigan Legislature can send a powerful message of equity, unity, and solidarity with its Asian American communities by passing this bill package swiftly in its entirety,” Rivera added.

The post Legislators announce bill package to recognize new state holidays appeared first on Michigan Advance.

EUP News Staff

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