There are four new holidays on our school calendar next year: Diwali, which is a Hindu holiday, Eid-al Fitr and Eid-al Adha, Muslim holidays, and, last but not the least, Chinese New Year.

The main reason Diwali is celebrated is because Lord Rama came home after staying in the jungle and rescuing his wife, Sita, from a very powerful demon. Many celebrate this holiday by lighting candles around the house and performing a holy ritual called a puja. They worship many gods and ask for peace.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Eid-al Fitr and Eid-al Adha are each celebrated differently. Eid-al Fitr, which begins June 25 this year, is celebrated by breaking a fast. This is a very important holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. It is the conclusion of the dawn-to-sunset fasting for the month of Ramadan. Before breaking the fast each person donates food to the poor. On the day of Eid, Muslims gather outside or at mosques to perform the Eid prayer.

Eid-al Adha is a festival of sacrifice starting Aug. 31 this year that honors Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son per God’s command. However, God sent an angel before his son was sacrificed, who then put a sheep in his son’s place. Families will take the meat of a sheep and divide it into three: one-third for the family, another for relatives and the rest for the needy.

Chinese New Year was celebrated Jan. 28. However, it lasts for about 15 days. In some places like Chinatown people dance in parades with a dragon “skin” over their heads. Many eat nian gao, a type of rice cake as a traditional dish. They also eat moon cake for Lunar New Year. Many families wear a traditional dress called qipao. Parents give money to their kids in red envelopes for good luck. There are many different ways to celebrate this holiday depending on what part of China your family is from.