EAST BRUNSWICK — Muslim residents have urged the township Board of Education to add the religion’s major holidays to the school calendar.

In Arabic, Eid literally means a “festival” or “feast.” There are two such major festivities in the Islamic calendar — Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

As of 2023, at least 27 public school districts in the state had Eid recognized on their calendar, according to the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Monroe Township Public Schools has also added Eid to its calendar this year, bringing the count to at least 28 districts.

Muslim residents and their allies attended the East Brunswick school board meeting on Thursday and encouraged the district to join that growing list.

New Jersey recognition of Eid as a holiday

While the state does recognize Eid among a long list of religious excused absences, supporters have noted that it leaves those select students at a disadvantage.

“For too long, Muslim students have had to choose between attending class and celebrating major holidays. If they chose the latter, they risk missing exams, instruction, and are overwhelmed with make-up work upon their return to school,” according to CAIR-NJ spokeswoman Dina Sayedahmed.

New NJ school holidays Districts that recognize Eid (CAIR NJ, Townsquare Media)
New NJ school holidays Districts that recognize Eid (CAIR NJ, Townsquare Media)
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Which NJ school districts recognize Eid as a holiday?

Englewood Cliffs has observed a half day off for this school year and last, according to the CAIR NJ data compiled online.

The majority of districts that have added Eid to their calendars were full days off. Those schools include:

CENTRAL JERSEY

West Windsor and Plainsboro, South Brunswick, Piscataway, Sayreville & Parlin, Edison, Monroe

NORTH JERSEY

Montclair, Jersey City, Paramus, Ridgewood, Leonia & Edgewater, Hackensack, Mount Olive, Clifton, Paterson, Wayne, Prospect Park, Pompton Lakes, Teaneck, Elizabeth, Hillside, Linden, Union, Newark, Irvington

SOUTH JERSEY

Atlantic City, Pleasantville

“Given the growing trend of New Jersey public schools providing long-awaited and much needed accommodations for their Muslim students, we are optimistic that the East Brunswick school board will support their Muslim students and follow suit," Sayedahmed added.

East Brunswick, NJ
(U.S. Census, Townsquare Media)
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When is Eid celebrated?

Eid al-Fitr comes at the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan.

Eid al-Adha is the Islamic Feast of Sacrifice that comes at the end of the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca.

The timing of both is dependent on the Islamic lunar calendar, as holidays shift per the moon cycle.

This year, Ramadan falls between March and April.

NJ school holidays with the biggest buzz

Just which days NJ schools have off remains a reflection of its community.

Some New Jersey towns now have populations that celebrate religious holidays not previously taken as a district-wide day, such as Diwali or Eid.

Other days off are not religious in nature, but are still stirring up controversy or buzz around the state. The following have been making the most news.

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at erin.vogt@townsquaremedia.com

Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.

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