Eid al-Fitr becomes vacation day for public schools in US city of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Public Schools announced the decision while asking schools in the community to fill out a survey to choose the first day of the 2021-22 school year, following input from families.
“I think it’s the right thing to do for our Muslim families,” Terry Kennedy, vice president for the board said Wednesday evening, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. “Certainly, they deserve to be able to observe their holy days without having to worry about what is going on with school.”
Kennedy also credited former school board candidate Ghada Makoshi for asking the district to make the holiday a vacation day, adding it is “a very positive addition to our calendar.”
Eid al-Fitr is a major three-day holiday in the Islamic calendar, falling at the end of Ramadan. It translates as “Festival of Breaking Fast,” as Muslims spend the month of Ramadan fasting during the daylight hours.
Observers usually mark the event with mass morning prayers, visiting family and friends, and gatherings in public spaces. However Saud Arabia and Egypt’s top Islamic institutions encouraged people to stay at home last year, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations praised the district’s recognition of the holiday.
“We welcome this decision to recognize Eid al-Fitr within the Pittsburgh Public Schools’ calendar,” Christine Mohamed, CAIR’s executive director, said in a statement.
“It’s a necessary step and we appreciate the school district’s attentiveness to the diversity of its students and families in our community. We hope other school districts … surrounding Pittsburgh follow suit.”