Both major candidates in the 2013 New York City mayoral election, Republican Joe Lhota and Democrat Bill de Blasio, have said they support closing public schools across the city for two Muslim holy days, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.
Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan and has no set date. Eid al-Adha occurs in the fall and honors Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son on God’s command.
“We have a growing Muslim community in the City of New York and their religion needs to be respected as all other religions are respected,” Lhota said, according to the New York Post.
“We have to respect everyone’s faith in this city,” agreed De Blasio.
Estimates of the number of Muslims in New York City vary between 200,000 and 1,000,000. A website called A Journey Through NYC Religions guesstimates the number to be 600,000—roughly seven percent of the population.
Naturally, members of other religions and ethnic groups which don’t yet have their own days off in New York City’s public schools are now agitating for recognition.
Sheldon Silver, who represents Chinatown in lower Manhattan, wants Chinese New Year off.
“We don’t want to take away from the learning days, but we have to adjust the calendar appropriately to include all of the major populations that we have,” Silver told the New York Daily News.
Another councilman wants schools to close in July for the holy day of Diwali, a festival of lights celebrated by Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains.
At what point will all of this holiday-seeking stop? The Daily Caller has no idea, but observers of Festivus are clearly suffering rank discrimination.
Festivus is, of course, a secular holiday which stands athwart commercialism and religious dogma. Celebrants utilize an unadorned aluminum pole. There is a Festivus dinner followed by the “Airing of Grievances” and then the “Feats of Strength.”
Allen Salkin, author of “Festivus: The Holiday for the Rest of Us,” takes a dispassionate view toward the ant-Festivus bigotry displayed by New York’s current crop of politicians and would-be mayors.
“Festivus does not ask for special treatment. Festivus does not want itself to be like other holidays—whining or engaging in feasts of laziness,” Salkin told TheDC.
“Most holidays, people just end up drinking too much, abusing themselves or somebody else, or getting into a traffic accident,” he explained.
Salkin noted that “whichever candidates can brand themselves as the Festivus candidate will win.”
At the same time, he is confident that the blessing of New York City’s politicians won’t matter.
“Festivus has a way of surviving,” he said.
Festivus is now celebrated on December 23, as depicted in an episode of Seinfeld. Purely by happenstance, New York City public schools will be closed that day in 2013.
(Allen Salkin also has a new book, From Scratch: Inside the Food Network)