Spring Break Or Holiday Weekend?
April 13, 2017
Filed under Opinion
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Everyone is unanimously excited for this four-day holiday weekend. While all of us need a well-deserved break, some are more excited because of Easter Sunday, a Christian holiday, that usually occurs this time of year.
This is not coincidental but intentional.
In the past, school calendars revolved around religion, more specifically Christianity.
To accommodate for the various Christian holidays and agricultural plowing, a school district would schedule breaks, so that their students would have ample time to celebrate, or help their family cultivate the crops at peak.
Fast forward a few centuries to today, where different religions have surfaced in multiple regions; we have chaotically managed to “coexist.”
Yet, traditions seldom die. They morph into something new to be reborn.
In England and in the United States, people have backlashed against large businesses due to their perceived “religious bias.” In London, the candy maker Cadbury is being accused of waging a “War on Easter” due to its omission of the word “Easter” in their annual egg hunt. According to Time magazine’s Web site, the lack of Easter in the title drew the ire of Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May.
Religious influence in the world is strong. We still have this religiously-influenced school breaks, just not for non-Christian holidays.
Do other students with different beliefs have the right to take days off for religious activities, or do Christian religions have a superiority in the education system? After all, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the term holiday originates from the Old English word hāligæg, meaning holy day.
Weston Ranch Vice Principal Dave Smith told The Prowl that a religious holiday can be used for an excused absence. This statement supports the 2014-2015 Weston Ranch High School’s Student Handbook which states that an approved absence can be a family emergency, court appearance (with documentation), and most importantly, religious holiday.
But some holidays already are built into the calendar.
Regarding not having classes Friday, the vice principal said, “We typically get Friday off for Good Friday.”
Good Friday is a Christian holiday in which commemorates the death of Jesus, the centerpiece of Christianity. It is a time to remember Jesus’s suffering, typically by repenting and fasting. Good Friday is then followed by Easter Sunday, a holiday in which Christians celebrate their belief in the resurrection of Jesus.
While educators and students believe this break is synonymous with Easter, the Manteca Unified School District’s Student Calendar officially labels this four-day weekend for schools as simply “Student Break/Closed to the Public.” On the district Web site, the day is labeled “Spring Break.”
There are many other holidays, like Cambodian New Year, which fall around Easter that vertically go unrecognized.
“Personally, I can understand why it’s overlooked,” said Cedric Leung (’18), a staff member of The Prowl, who celebrates Cambodian New Year. “You can’t just learn everything there is about every single culture instantaneously.”
Leung said, “In history classes, we learn about Christianity, because these are much more popular amongst people because of white influences of the past.”
As the country continues to move into the future, perhaps the customs and holidays of the various religious groups (Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam) within our school district and our country will become part of our academic calendar too.