There have been efforts to boost the number of New Jersey schools now honoring an important Hindu holiday.

A student out of Camden County has been petitioning online for all districts in the county to join those honoring Diwali with a day off.

As of last winter, roughly two dozen of the state’s nearly 600 school districts had already blocked off Diwali for the 2022-2023 school year — either as a full closure, or closed to students with staff professional development.

They include schools in parts of Middlesex, Monmouth, Mercer and Somerset counties, as well as one or two districts each in Bergen, Camden, Essex and Passaic counties.

ARCHIVE 2018: Diwali ceremony in the Roosevelt Room of the White House Nov. 13, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
ARCHIVE 2018: Diwali ceremony in the Roosevelt Room of the White House Nov. 13, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
loading...

Three other districts have short/single session or early dismissal: Colts Neck, Englewood Cliffs and West Long Branch.

This year, the festival of lights falls on Monday, Oct. 24 — although Diwali's date ranges between October and November each year, as based on the Indian calendar.

Jewish holiday halved?

Similarly, Jewish holidays land on different days each year — as they are based on the lunisolar calendar. The high holy days of both Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are observed this time of year.

In 2022, Rosh Hashana starts on the evening of Sept.25 and runs through Sept. 27 — while Yom Kippur starts on the evening of Oct. 4 through the following day.

Earlier this year, the Randolph Board of Education faced backlash for voting to remove a second day from the school calendar for Rosh Hashana.

For the 2022-2023 year, the school district calendar only includes Monday (Sept. 26), the first day of the religious holiday period.

Students who observe the Jewish holiday still can receive an excused absence for Tuesday, Sept. 27, the board previously said.

Religious 'excused absence'

A wide range of religious holidays are considered by the state Department of Education as excused absences for those who observe them.

They include — but are not limited to — days of importance for Christian, Jewish, Islam, Hindu, Confucian, Daoist, Buddhist, Eastern Orthodox Christian, Wicca, Church of God and Scientology (L. Ron Hubbard’s birthday) faiths.

Which holidays are actually built into a school calendar across the state remains a school board matter.

“Although very much governed by tradition and community expectation, the establishment of the school calendar is a clear board function which is not subject to negotiations,” according to the New Jersey School Board Association.

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, heading into the 2022-2023 school year.

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.

Say you’re from Jersey without saying you’re from Jersey

These are everyday expressions that only someone from New Jersey would get. What else should be on this list?

States with the most registered hunters

Stacker analyzed data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine which states have the most registered hunters. Read on to see how your state ranks on Stacker’s list.

RANKED: Here Are the 63 Smartest Dog Breeds

Does your loyal pup's breed make the list? Read on to see if you'll be bragging to the neighbors about your dog's intellectual prowess the next time you take your fur baby out for a walk. Don't worry: Even if your dog's breed doesn't land on the list, that doesn't mean he's not a good boy--some traits simply can't be measured.

NJ county fairs make a comeback: Check out the schedule for 2022

A current list of county fairs happening across the Garden State for 2022. From rides, food, animals, and hot air balloons, each county fair has something unique to offer.

(Fairs are listed in geographical order from South NJ to North NJ)

NJ beach tags guide for summer 2022

We're coming up on another summer at the Jersey Shore! Before you get lost in the excitement of sunny days on the sand, we're running down how much seasonal/weekly/daily beach tags will cost you, and the pre-season deals you can still take advantage of!

More From Cat Country 96.7 /104.1