2021-22 Religious and Cultural Observances

Certain events cannot be scheduled on any of the 15 days

The calendar for the 2021-22 school year recognizes 15 religious and cultural observances. Tests, quizzes, field trips, graduation, homecoming, or FCPS-scheduled athletic events cannot be scheduled on any of the 15 days.  

Eid al-Adha

July 20, 2021

(Begins at Sunset on July 19)

Eid al-Adha, or the “Feast of Sacrifice,”  is the holiest day of the Islamic year and signifies the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim, known as Abraham in Christianity and Judaisim, to sacrifice his son, Ismail, as ordered by Allah. It is one of Islam's most important holidays. It focuses on sacrifice, the pilgrimage to Mecca and giving to those less fortunate. The celebration is based on the lunar calendar, which changes the date each year. FCPS has designated Eid al-Adha as a religious and cultural observance day designed to allow students the opportunity to miss school for observances not already designated as school holidays. (This holiday occurs when school is not in session.) The most common way to wish someone a Happy Eid al-Adha is Eid Mubarek, which means 'blessed feast’ (or festival).

Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur

Rosh Hashanah on September 7, 2021/Yom Kippur on September 16, 2021

(Rosh Hashanah begins at sunset on September 6/Yom Kippur begins at sunset on September 15)

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is one of Judaism’s holiest days. Meaning “head of the year” or “first of the year,” the festival begins on the first day of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar, which falls during September or October. Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of the world and marks the beginning of the Days of Awe, a 10-day period of introspection and repentance that culminates in the Yom Kippur holiday, also known as the Day of Atonement. 

According to tradition, it is on Yom Kippur that God decides each person’s fate, so Jews are encouraged to make amends and ask forgiveness for sins committed during the past year. Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah are known as Judaism’s “High Holy Days.” FCPS has designated Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur as religious and cultural observance days designed to allow students the opportunity to miss school for observances not already designated as school holidays.

Note: For the 2022-23 school year, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur will be student holidays.

All Saints Day/Dia de Los Muertos

November 1-2, 2021

All Saints' Day (November 1, follows All Hallows Eve (Halloween/October 31) in Mexico coincides with the first day of the Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos) celebration. It commemorates children who have died (Dia de los Inocentes) and the second day (November 2) celebrates all deceased adults. (This holiday occurs when school is not in session.) All Saints' Day in the Christian church is a day commemorating all the saints of the church, both known and unknown, who have attained heaven.

Diwali

November 4, 2021 

Diwali (duh-vaa-lee) will be observed on Thursday, November 4. Diwali is a festival of lights and one of the major festivals celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and some Buddhists. The festival usually lasts five days and is celebrated during the Hindu lunisolar month Kartika. The festival represents the symbolic victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil. You can greet friends who celebrate Diwali with “Happy Diwali”. FCPS has designated Diwali as a religious and cultural observance day designed to allow students the opportunity to miss school for observances not already designated as school holidays.

Note: For the 2022-23 school year, Diwali will be student holidays.

Bodhi Day

December 8, 2021

Bodhi Day (December 8) is the Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day that the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama (Shakyamuni), experienced enlightenment, also known as bodhi in Sanskrit and Pali. According to tradition, Siddhartha had recently forsaken years of extreme ascetic practices and resolved to sit under a peepal tree, also known as a Bodhi tree (Ficus religiosa), and simply meditate until he found the root of suffering, and how to liberate oneself from it. FCPS has designated Bodhi as a religious and cultural observance day designed to allow students the opportunity to miss school for observances not already designated as school holidays.

Three Kings Day/Epiphany

January 6, 2022

Three Kings Day (January 6), also known as the Epiphany, is a Christian celebration that commemorates the Biblical story of the three kings who followed the star of Bethlehem to bring gifts to the Christ child. This marks the official 12th day of Christmas. FCPS has designated Three Kings Day/Epiphany as a religious and cultural observance day designed to allow students the opportunity to miss school for observances not already designated as school holidays.

Orthodox Christmas

January 7, 2022

Many Orthodox Christians in the United States celebrate Christmas Day on or near January 7 in the Gregorian calendar. This date works to be December 25 in the Julian calendar, which pre-dates the Gregorian calendar. It is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, who is believed to be the son of God. This holiday differs from Christmas Day because it does not observe Pagan traditions, like waiting for gifts from Santa Claus and decorating a tree, instead it focuses on religious customs. FCPS has designated Orthodox Christmas as a religious and cultural observance day designed to allow students the opportunity to miss school for observances not already designated as school holidays.

Orthodox Epiphany

January 19, 2022

In the Orthodox church, Epiphany is celebrated on January 19 and celebrates the baptism of Jesus rather than the arrival of the Magi (Three wise men) which is celebrated on January 6 as Epiphany in the Western Church.

Also known as The Feast of Theophany, this observance commemorates Christ's baptism by John the Forerunner (John the Baptist) in the River Jordan, beginning of Christ's ministry on earth and revealing the Holy Trinity of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit to mankind. FCPS has designated Orthodox Epiphany as a religious and cultural observance day designed to allow students the opportunity to miss school for observances not already designated as school holidays.

Lunar New Year

February 1, 2022

The Lunar New Year is a holiday that marks the first new moon of the lunisolar calendar, which is the calendar traditionally used in many east Asian countries including China, Vietnam, Singapore and South Korea. In these and other Asian countries, it is one of the most important holidays of the year. The Lunar New Year is all about ushering in luck and prosperity with family. FCPS has designated Lunar New Year as a religious and cultural observance day designed to allow students the opportunity to miss school for observances not already designated as school holidays.

First Full Day of Ramadan

April 2, 2022

(Ramadan continues until May 1)

This year, the first full day of Ramadan is April 2. Ramadan is the most sacred month of the year for Muslims, who believe it was during this month that God revealed the first verses of the Quran, Islam's sacred text, to Mohammed, on a night known as "The Night of Power." During the entire month of Ramadan, Muslims fast every day from dawn to sunset. It is meant to be a time of spiritual discipline—of deep contemplation of one's relationship with God, extra prayer, increased charity and generosity, and intense study of the Quran. (This year, the first full day of Ramadan begins when school is not in session. It will last for 30 days..) 

Good Friday

April 15, 2022

Good Friday, the Friday before Easter, is the day on which Christians annually observe the commemoration of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Good Friday is a day of mourning. During special Good Friday services Christians meditate on Jesus's suffering and death on the cross, and what this means for their faith. FCPS has designated Good Friday as a religious and cultural observance day designed to allow students the opportunity to miss school for observances not already designated as school holidays.

Last Day of Passover

April 23, 2022

(Passover begins at sunset on April 15 and ends on April 23)

Many Jewish communities in the United States mark the last day of Passover (April 23) as the end of a Jewish holiday that celebrates the deliverance of Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. Passover is also known as Pesah, Pesach, or the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Many Jewish families in the United States eat a ceremonial meal known as the Seder, which involves telling the story of the exodus from Egypt as well as eating various symbolic foods, such as meat of the paschal lamb and bitter herbs, recalling the harsh life of slavery. (This holiday occurs when school is not in session.) 

Theravada New Year

April 16, 2022

In countries where Theravada Buddhism is the most dominant religion, April is the month of celebration. It marks the end of the lunisolar calendar and the beginning of another just like January 1 for most people in the world, and is why this holiday is termed the Theravada New Year. The Theravada New Year is celebrated for three days from the first full moon in April. Theravada means “the teachings of the elders”.

Celebrations begin with people attending the local temple in the morning for chanting and meditation. In the afternoon they have a water festival in which they meet the Buddha image and pay respect to the elderly by watering their hands together. Building sandcastles is also one of the most popular activities during this day of celebration. (This holiday occurs when school is not in session.)

Orthodox Good Friday

April 22, 2022

Millions of Orthodox Christians commemorate Good Friday, also known as “Great Friday” to remember the events leading up to Jesus' crucifixion. The Orthodox Easter dates usually differ from the dates used by western churches because most Orthodox churches retained some version of the Julian calendar, which is older than the Gregorian calendar, commonly used today. FCPS has designated Orthodox Good Friday as a religious and cultural observance day designed to allow students the opportunity to miss school for observances not already designated as school holidays.

Note: For the 2022-23 school year, Orthodox Good Friday on April 14 will be a student holiday.

Eid al Fitr

May 2, 2022

(Sunset May 1 to sunset May 2)

Eid al-Fitr, also known as the lesser Eid, marks the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting, and is celebrated during the first three days of Shawwal, the tenth month of the Islamic calendar. (The Muslim use of a lunar calendar means these dates begin between 10 to 11 days earlier each year.) Muslims congregate that morning for Eid Prayers. It is a time of official receptions and private visits, when friends greet one another, presents are given, new clothes are worn, and the graves of relatives are visited. The most common way to wish someone a Happy Eid al Fitr is Eid Mubarek, which means “blessed feast” (or festival). FCPS has designated Eid al Fitr as a religious and cultural observance day designed to allow students the opportunity to miss school for observances not already designated as school holidays.   Eid-al-Fitr ( is from sunset May 1 to sunset May 2).

FCPS Heritage Months and Observances