Calling Hinduism one of the world’s largest and oldest religions and acknowledging the contributions of the community, a county in the US state of Florida has recognised November as Hindu Heritage Month. Broward County joins a list of states from across the country, including Georgia, Texas, Ohio, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Virginia, etc., to commemorate Hindu heritage, culture, values, and traditions. November is a significant month for Hindus as they celebrate the festival of lights, Diwali, which falls on the 12th of the month this year.
Stating that millions of Americans celebrate the festival every year, including those in the county, the recent resolution called Diwali a “time of peace, joy and new beginnings where people of all ages, especially young children, light oil lamps, burst fireworks and distribute sweets”. Welcoming the move, CoHNA (Coalition of Hindus of North America), a Hindu advocacy group in the US, said on Tuesday: “The Resolution also acknowledges Hinduism as one of the world’s largest and oldest religions, along with its diverse traditions, collectively known as Sanatana Dharma, with core values of acceptance, mutual respect, freedom and peace.”
The resolution also acknowledged the community’s contributions towards yoga, ayurveda, meditation, food, music, arts, etc. which have enriched the cultural fabric and have been widely adopted in American society. It highlighted that the Hindu philosophy of Vedanta and ideals such as selfless service, non-violence, etc. have inspired many American intellectuals and leaders, from Martin Luther King, Jr., John D. Rockefeller, Henry David Thoreau, to Aldous Huxley, and many others. Indians are the largest Asian group in Florida with a population of 153,968, according to recent estimates. Recently, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp declared that October will be celebrated as ‘Hindu Heritage Month’ in the state.