Legislation establishes religious observances as state holidays
LANSING, Mich., Sept. 13, 2023 — The House of Representatives passed a package of bills today acknowledging the rich diversity of cultures and religions that Michiganders celebrate and observe. The legislation establishes Diwali, Eid al-Adha, Eid al-Fitr, Lunar New Year, Vaisakhi, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur as state-recognized holidays in Michigan.
“Cultural diversity helps Michigan flourish and grow. By making sure these holidays are on the state’s calendar, we’re recognizing the many beliefs, celebrations and communities that make our state strong,” said state Rep. Ranjeev Puri (D-Canton), sponsor of House Bills 4446 and 4449. “Together, we are creating a more welcoming, inclusive Michigan that accepts people of all backgrounds and beliefs.”
“Michigan is home to one of the largest concentrations of Muslims in the United States. Recognizing Eid will send a message that Michigan is here to welcome and embrace our rich diversity. I’m glad to be part of the process to make this happen,” said Majority Floor Leader Abraham Aiyash (D-Hamtramck), sponsor of HB 4447. “Representation matters, and putting these days into state law sends the message that our diversity is what makes our state great.”
“Celebrating diversity doesn’t mean simply accepting other cultures and religions — it takes an active statement of support. Passing these bills today is our way of saying, ‘You belong here,’” said state Rep. Sharon MacDonell (D-Troy), sponsor of HB 4448. “On behalf of those who celebrate Lunar New Year — such as Chinese, South Koreans and Vietnamese — and people across Michigan who recognize these holidays, I am proud to sponsor and vote yes on this legislation.”
“As Jews in Greater West Bloomfield and across Michigan prepare to mark Rosh Hashanah this weekend, I could not be more proud that our House Democratic Majority passed my bill to honor the Jewish New Year in Michigan law,” said state Rep. Noah Arbit (D-West Bloomfield), sponsor of HB 4544. “In a time of rising hate and bigotry, it is high time that our government works to reflect the diversity of all our communities in Michigan, and that is exactly why House Democrats’ holiday bills are so needed.”
“Part of the historic marginalization of ethnic and religious minorities is the lack of acknowledgement for their culture. Adding these holidays to the state calendar is a small but meaningful gesture of inclusion for the communities that add to Michigan’s rich diversity,” said state Rep. Samantha Steckloff (D-Farmington Hills), sponsor of HB 4545. “Yom Kippur is the holiest day in Judaism and deserves equal standing with all the other holidays our state currently recognizes.”