Diwali is a mega celebration around the world now. From the former US President Barack Obama wishing the American Hindus, it has caught the attention of the Kenyan government too. Being the 44th Tribe, the Asians are participating in the arena of rights and requesting that Diwali be declared an Official Holiday.
Other countries apart from India where Diwali is an official holiday include Nepal, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Malaysia, Mauritius, Guyana, Myanmar, Trinidad and Tobago and Pakistan’s Sindh Province.
Diwali is especially significant because it is the festival of lights, the celebration of the battle of good versus evil and of course the Hindu New Year. All these combinations that usually are kicked off with the 9 nights of dancing of Navratri mean this is like a big month full of special days which are of religious significance and they culminate at Diwali date.
This mega event has become popular around the world because of its decorative cultural aspects. Just like Christmas, Diwali is a massive opportunity for many service providers and suppliers to make their gold. For example the leading example being fireworks, which in the countries where it is especially an official holiday are sold in large numbers. The impact of fireworks to the environment is under debate. While their main ingredient which is black powder has not been replaced in the last 1,000 years, fireworks are known to cause harm including give hearing loss, scare pets and disturb the chemical balance on water bodies. In fact India learning from these toxic lessons, has banned the fireworks in Delhi according to a latest Supreme Court ruling delivered on 10th October 2017.
The non-pollutant items include fashion wear that is made up of various clothing styles and especially jewellery. This is the time when most update their traditional wear wardrobe and bring in new items of jewelry of gold, diamonds and more. This is the time to also redecorate a house, room or even office space. It is the time to splash a new layer of paint or get that new car you want. The sale on almost all usual lifestyle items is endless. Also the most popular is the food, where you get a large variety of Indian sweets, lunches, dinner parties and lots more. All this shopping sounds exhausting but alas it must be enjoyed like Boxing Day, so why not over an official holiday?
If each tribe had their own official holiday that is almost one and a half month gone in a productive year. The Employer can be sensitive to the list of significant days that his team can have and this information can come from the Human Resources Department. You may say then why allow Eid? Well the number of Muslims outweighs the rest. Islam usually follows Christianity in most countries and Eid is still not a holiday even in the United Kingdom.
The employer can allow the day off without deducting it as part of the leave, for example Vaisakhi is the Sikh New Year and the Sikhs can take their day off. However there might be a question of dividing up faiths. But then again, Christmas is part of the Roman calendar, which we are all following to maintain our calendar dates. Remember that Christians remained the largest religious group in the world in 2015, making up nearly a third (31%) of Earth’s 7.3 billion people. Until such time there is a major shift can holidays change.
For now Diwali should not be an official holiday in Kenya. Our population is not that of 1 million that if we closed our businesses for that one day there will be a disruption in the economy so why put the entire country off?