US state of Georgia officially declares October as ‘Hindu Heritage Month’

The US state of Georgia has officially declared October as “Hindu Heritage Month” to acknowledge the contributions of the vibrant Hindu American community in the state.

The sprawling Swamynarayan temple complex in Atlanta, Georgia, United States, is a major centre of Hindu culture in America. Photo courtesy: Instagram/aniketmalhotra

In a proclamation, Governor of Georgia Brian Kemp designated October as Hindu Heritage Month. His statement said that Hindu heritage would be celebrated in the state of Georgia by focusing on the Hindu culture and the diverse spiritual traditions rooted in India.

“The vibrant Hindu American community has contributed tremendously to the vitality of the State of Georgia by enriching the lives of its citizens,” the proclamation, dated August 23, read.

CoHNA (Coalition of Hindus of North America), a Hindu advocacy group in the United States of America, also welcomed the move and thanked Governor Kemp for recognising the Hindu community, which, it said, was a significant contributor to diverse sectors.

In a proclamation, Governor of Georgia Brian Kemp designated October as Hindu Heritage Month. Photo courtesy: X/@GovKemp

“This was made possible by the untiring dedication of our friends at the Hindus of Georgia PAC. Hinduism has contributed greatly to the cultural milieu of America,” said the Hindu group on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Earlier this year, the Georgia Assembly passed a resolution condemning Hinduphobia, making it the first American state to take such a legislative measure.

Condemning Hinduphobia and anti-Hindu bigotry, the resolution noted the Hindu community’s contributions of Yoga, ayurveda, meditation, food, music, and arts in enriching the cultural fabric of American society and enhancing the lives of millions.

While CoHNA acknowledged the recognition by Georgia, it expressed dissatisfaction over the anti-caste discrimination bill passed by the California State Assembly this week. “It is gratifying to see Georgia recognise the contribution of Hindu-Americans and Hinduism at the same time that California is targeting us with #SB403,” CoHNA wrote on X.

The bill passed by the California Assembly seeks to combat caste discrimination and strengthen protections for marginalised communities across the state.

According to the Hindu American Foundation, Hindu Heritage Month (HHM) is a global movement highlighting Hinduism as a tradition and its contributions to human society.

October is significant because it is generally the month of Hindu festivities such as Navaratri (also celebrated as Durga Puja) and Diwali, though the dates differ from year to year.

While Hinduism is the third-largest religion in the world, with one billion people across the globe identifying as Hindus, approximately three million reside in the United States of America.