The state of New Jersey just added 4 more religious holidays to the official excused absence list. That is, the schools don't necessarily shut down for everyone, but if you are of a particular religion and you want to keep your child out of school for that day it has to be considered a legitimate excused absence. The new 4 approved just yesterday by the state Board of Ed are:

  • Holy Convocation, Jan. 3-10.
  • Pongal, Jan. 14.
  • Passover/Days of Unleavened Bread, April 13-20.
  • Goverdhan Puja, Oct. 24.

Holy Convocation from January 3rd through January 10th, so you can keep your child out that entire time? Pongal. Is this the harvest festival in South India? I thought this was part of Diwali, and isn't Diwali already a given holiday? Or is it just part of Diwali and Diwali covers more than one day? I'm so confused. Forgive my ignorance. I grew up in a Christian household. My father for a time even taught Sunday school at a local Presbyterian church. Yet I don't recall my parents ever trying to take me out of school for All Saints' Day on Nov. 1 or All Souls' Day on Nov. 2 or First Sunday of Advent on Nov. 30. Different division of Christianity I suppose, one that Presbyterians don't take off for, I don't know. I'm going to keep my kids out on December 22nd and tell the school it was to air grievances and perform feats of strength.

So then I got curious. Here's the complete list of all religious holidays recognized by our public schools for which excused absences must be given, minus the four new ones approved just yesterday.

July 2014

July 9: Martyrdom of the Bab (Baha'i)
July 11: Asalha Puja Day (Buddhist)
July 13-15: Ulambana/Obon (Buddhist)
July 24: Laylat as-Qadr (Islam)
July 29: Eid al Fitr (Islam)

August 2014

August 1: Fast in Honor of the Holy Mother of Lord Jesus (Eastern Orthodox Christian)
August 1: Lammas (Christian and Wicca)
August 5: Tisha B'Av (Jewish)
August 6: Transfiguration of the Lord (Eastern Orthodox Christian)
August 10: Raksha Bandhan (Hindu)
August 15: Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Christian)/Dormition of the Theotokos (Eastern Orthodox Christian)
August 18: Krishna Janmashtami (Hindu)
August 29: Ganesha Chaturthi (Hindu)

September 2014

September 1: Ecclesiastical Year begins (Orthodox Christian)
September 7: His Holiness Sakya Trizin's Birthday (Buddhist)
September 8: Nativity of Mary (Christian)/Nativity of the Theotokos (Eastern Orthodox Christian)
September 14: The Elevation of the Holy Cross (Eastern Orthodox Christian)
September 21: Mabon (Wicca)
September 25-26: Feast of Trumpets (Church of God, Philadelphia Church of God)/Rosh Hashanah (Jewish)
September 25-October 3: Navaratri (Hindu)

October 2014

October 3: Hajj Day (Islam)/Duserra (Hindu)
October 4: Yom Kippur (Jewish)/Day of Atonement (Christian, Church of God, Philadelphia Church of God)/Eid al Adha (Islam)
October 8-15: Sukkot (Jewish)/Feast of Tabernacles (Church of God, Philadelphia Church of God)
October 16: Last Great Day (Church of God, Philadelphia Church of God)
October 17: Simcat Torah (Jewish)
October 16-17: Shemini Atzeret (Jewish)
October 20: Birth of B'ab (Baha'i)/Installation of the Scriptures as Guru Granth (Sikh)
October 23: Diwali (Hindu, Jain and Sikh)
October 25: Al Hijra – 1st Muharram (Islam)

November 2014

November 1: All Saints' Day (Christian)/Samhain-Beltane (Wicca)
November 2: All Souls' Day (Christian)
November 12: Birth of Baha'u'llah (Baha'i)
November 15: Advent/Nativity Fast begins (Eastern Orthodox Christian)
November 17: Guru Nanak Dev Sahib Birthday (Sikh)
November 21: The Presentation of the Theotokos to the Temple (Eastern Orthodox Christian)
November 24: Guru Tegh Bahadur Martyrdom (Sikh)
November 26: Day of Covenant (Baha'i)
November 28: Ascension of 'Abdu'l Baha (Baha'i)
November 30: First Sunday of Advent (Christian)

December 2014

December 8: Bodhi Day (Buddhist)/Immaculate Conception (Christian)
December 16-24: Hanukkah (Jewish)
December 21: Yule (Wicca and Christian)
December 25: Christmas (Christian)/The Nativity of Christ (Eastern Orthodox Christian)
December 26: Zarathosht Diso (Zoroastrian)

January 2015

January 1: Gantan-sai (Shinto)
January 3: Mawlid an Nabi (Islam)
January 5: Birthday of Guru Gobind Singh Sahib (Sikh)
January 6: Feast of Epiphany (Christian [and Eastern Orthodox Christian])/Feast of Theophany (Eastern Orthodox Christian)/Nativity of Christ (Armenian Orthodox)
January 7: Feast of the Nativity (Orthodox Christian)
January 13: Maghi (Sikh)
January 14: Makar Sankranti (Hindu)
January 18: World Religion Day (Baha'i)
January 24: Vasant Panchami (Hindu)

February 2015

February 2: The Presentation of Our Lord to the Temple (Eastern Orthodox Christian)/Imbolic-Candlemas (Wicca and Christian)
February 4: Tu B'shvat (Jewish)
February 15: Nirvana Day (Buddhist)
February 17: Shrove Tuesday (Christian)/Maha Shivaratri (Hindu)
February 18: Ash Wednesday (Christian)
February 19: Chinese New Year (Confucian, Daoist, Buddhist)
February 23: Clean Monday (Eastern Orthodox Christian)
February 26: through March 1 Intercalary Days (Baha'i)

March 2015

March 5: Purim (Jewish)
March 6: Hola Mohalla (Sikh)/Holi (Hindu)
March 18: L. Ron Hubbard's Birthday (Church of Scientology)
March 20: Ostara (Wicca)
March 21: Nowruz (Zoroastrian)/Naw Ruz (Baha'i)/Chandramana Yugadi (Hindu)
March 25: The Annunciation/The Annunciation of the Virgin Mary (Eastern Orthodox Christian; Christian)
March 26:Khordad Sal (Zoroastrian)
March 28: Rami Navami (Hindu)
March 29 Palm Sunday (Christian)

April 2015

April 2: Holy Thursday (Christian)/Mahavir Jayanti (Jain)
April 3: Holy Friday (Christian)
April 4: Lazarus Saturday (Eastern Orthodox Christian)/First Day of Unleavened Bread (Church of God)/Theravadin New Year (Buddhist)/Hanuman Jayanti (Hindu)
April 4-10: Days of Unleavened Bread (Philadelphia Church of God)
April 4-11: Pesach (Jewish)
April 5: Easter (Christian)/Palm Sunday (Eastern Orthodox Christian)
April 6: Easter Monday (Christian)
April 8: Buddha's Birthday (Buddhist)
April 9: Holy Thursday (Eastern Orthodox Christian)
April 10: Holy Friday (Eastern Orthodox Christian)/Last Day of Unleavened Bread (Church of God)
April 12: Pascha (Easter) (Eastern Orthodox Christian)
April 13: Bright Monday (Eastern Orthodox Christian)/Baisakhi (Sikh)
April 14: Passover (Philadelphia Church of God)/Souramana Yugadi (Hindu)
April 15: Lord's Evening Meal (Christian, Jehovah's Witness)
April 21: First Day of Ridvan (Baha'i)
April 23: Yom Ha'Azmaut (Jewish)
April 25: The 11th Panchen Lama's Birthday (Buddhist)
April 29: Ninth Day of Ridvan (Baha'i)

May 2015

May 1: Beltane (Wicca)
May 2: Twelfth Day of Ridvan (Baha'i)
May 4: Buddha Day – Visakha Puja (Buddhist)
May 7: Lag B'Omer (Jewish)
May 13: Lailat al Miraj (Islam)
May 14: Ascension of Our Lord (Eastern Orthodox Christian)
May 23: Declaration of the Bab (Baha'i)
May 24: Pentecost (Christian)
May 24-25: Shavuot (Jewish)
May 29: Ascension of Baha'u'llah (Baha'i)
May 31: Pentecost (Eastern Orthodox Christian)

June 2015

June 1: Lailat al Bara'ah (Islam)
June 8: Fast of the Holy Apostles (Eastern Orthodox Christian)
June 16: Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev Sahib (Sikh)
June 18: Ramadan (Islam)
June 21: Litha (Wicca)
June 30: Synaxis of the 12 Apostles (Eastern Orthodox Christian)