The Best Thing That Happened This Week: The School District Got Two New Holidays

From now on, along with Yom Kippur, Thanksgiving and “Winter Recess,” kids and teachers will have Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha off.

Photo | It's Our City via Flickr / Creative Commons

Photo | It’s Our City via Flickr / Creative Commons

This week, the Philadelphia School District announced that it’s adding two new holidays to its calendar. Eid al-Fitr, the “Festival of the Breaking of the Fast” that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, and Eid al-Adha, the “Festival of Sacrifice” commemorating Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son at God’s behest, will join such longstanding days off as Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, and Winter and Spring Recess, a.k.a. Christmas and Easter in disguise.

Philly is one of the first school districts in the country to add the Muslim holidays, which change date according to the Islamic calendar but next year fall in mid-September and late June, respectively. Mayor Jim Kenney announced on Tuesday that he hopes the city will become the first in the nation to make the two festivals municipal holidays as well: “Our city was built on the idea that while we may be different in nationality and ethnicity, the city welcomes all to worship and practice the faiths of our culture or our choosing.”As Salima Suswell of the Philadelphia Eid Coalition put it, the change signals to young Muslim students “that they matter, their faith matters, and that there is a place in society for them.” In this season of demagoguery, such messages to Philly’s 200,000 Muslims matter more and more.

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