Recognizing “other” holidays

Punya Sidhu, Staff Writer

If you’re reading this, odds are, you celebrate Christmas. There’s a break designated almost solely for it, and you would never have to miss school to celebrate Christmas. That would be ridiculous, right?

    Wrong. We’ve grown so used to a school calendar that is set up in order to accommodate holidays such as Christmas and Easter. Some holidays, however, do not fall within these school-mandated breaks. Many students instead have to miss school in order to participate in their religious holidays that take place during school.

    Consequently, students end up having to make up the work.

    “I tell my teachers that it’s for a religious holiday, but I still have to do the homework for that day,” senior Simrah Farrukh said. “They don’t treat it as a major holiday.”

    Farrukh sometimes misses school to participate in religious holidays such as Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

    Junior Alex Young, another student who misses school due to religious holidays such as Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, feels as though missing school is an added stress because of the difficulty it adds to an already stressful school workload.

    “I do have to miss school, and it’s always an issue, and every year it’s always a struggle, because you have to tell your teachers in advance, you have to get your work, you can’t do the work on the day, you’re behind in your work: it just turns into a big mess,” Young said.

    It may be time to see a change in the school calendar in order to recognize and represent other holidays. Surely no other students would object to having a day off, and those who have to miss school are able to do so without added stress.

    “I’m not exactly sure what can be done, but I would like to see something change. It does make it hard for students who [don’t] have the same religion as the majority of us,” Young said.

    Our school district doesn’t recognize minority holidays

    “I don’t think they really ever thought about accommodating other holidays,” said Farrukh. “I think that they majority of the people are…of one religion, so they just [recognize] the majority, instead of looking at the minority’s holiday.”

    Many others across the country feel the same way about this issue. In fact, a petition started in order to make Eid a national holiday in the US has gathered 126,915 signatures.   

    Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City closed public schools this year for Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, a milestone for the recognition of minority holidays.

    Why shouldn’t we be the next to follow in their footsteps?

    There are some issues posed by other holidays, such as how the Muslim Eid holidays follow a lunar calendar, and there isn’t a set date on when the holiday would occur. If we were to have a day off on those holidays, it would be announced very close to the actual date, which could present problems to teachers and students.

    Overall, it would be rather impressive if our school district began incorporating other minority holidays into our calendar to facilitate equal representation.