New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced this morning that the city's public school calendar would now include two Muslim holidays, Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr, an historic step that he said, "respects the diversity of our city."
The addition of the holy days -- two of the most sacred on the Islamic calendar -- follows a campaign promise de Blasio made to close public schools in recognition of the city's Muslim population, and after a years-long effort made by the community, pushing for inclusion.
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Eid al-Adha marks the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham in Judaism and Christianity) to sacrifice his son for God. Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan - the month of sunrise-to-sunset fasting. Both days are typically celebrated with morning prayers, family celebrations, gift exchanges, and gathering for a traditional feast. The dates of both holy days shift each year, in accordance with the lunar calendar.
Estimates of the New York City's Muslim population range from 600,000 to one million. A 2008 study estimated there were 100,00 Muslim students in the city's public school system, representing about 1 in every 10 students from the overall population.
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