School breaks should include all religions or none

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Gigi Fox, Opinion/Sports Editor

Every year after our beloved summer ends, we start counting down the days until Christmas break, or as the school likes to call it, “winter break.” A two week break that just so happens to fall right in the time period for the Christian holiday, Christmas.
There is supposed to be a separation between church and state, yet the two longest school year breaks fall on Christian holidays, Christmas and oftentimes Easter. If there is going to be religious affiliations with the school breaks, the school system should cater to everyone’s religious holidays, not just to the Christian ones. The Jewish holiday, Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days and no school is taken off for that, yet Christmas is one day and somehow two weeks are budgeted.
“So personally I am Muslim and I think it’s absolutely messed up. We just started the month of Ramadan today and that month is very hard so with fasting and participating in school and tests and other extracurriculars, and then on top of that we don’t even get to go to our celebration at the end of the month, Eid, without missing school,” said sophomore Yacine Lo. “I know they say that the breaks aren’t for the holiday, but it’s really convenient that the Christian holidays get no school when the Muslim holidays don’t, and we only have two holidays in the Islamic calendar. It wouldn’t be difficult to plan accordingly, but the US has continually been built on Christianity even if they preach freedom of religion.”
Ramadan is an entire month long and for the year 2021, it starts on April 12th and continues until May 12th. Eid al-Fitr is the holiday marking the end of Ramadan with a big feast that breaks the month long fast. No time off is given for the Muslim community to celebrate Eid, which is only one day, like Christmas.
On top of that, the week before winter break is typically known for being finals week, this week has fallen on Hanukkah in the past and students are stressed over finals while trying to enjoy their holiday. But Christmas rolls around and for two weeks you get to relax and enjoy the break. Don’t get me wrong, students love a two week break, but if that break could fit in more than one religion or none at all, then we would love it even more.
“I think it’s pretty disappointing actually. We don’t ever have conversations really about other religions and their holidays. I think it’s important to have those conversations and give people the space they need to celebrate their holidays,” said junior Faye Thomas.
Some may argue that the two week winter break is for New Year’s and it doesn’t have anything to do with Christmas. While this may in part be true, why is Christmas even in the two week break? Why not start after Christmas? While Christmas’s proximity to New Years is purely coincidental, why not have the first week of break start after New Years? Or many colleges have three week winter breaks and if that were the case, then Hanukkah, Christmas and New Years would all be taken into account. In 2020, Hanukkah started on December 10th and that could be the start of the three week break, continuing until after New Years.
Loy Norrix has a very diverse pool of students who participate in a variety of religious groups, and for the school system to only recognize Christian holidays goes against the point of a public school. If you attended a private Catholic school and they chose to take the Christian holidays off, more power to them, but a public school should not.