In the New Jersey State Board of Education's List of Religious Holidays Permitting Student Absence from School, the Chinese/Lunar New Year (Feb 19, 2015) is listed as a "Confucian/Daoist/Buddhist" holiday.

I didn't think there was any connection with Buddhism. So is there?

  • It's probably a coincidence, or the school board made the designation for bureaucratic convenience. – Anthony Jan 13 '15 at 19:13

Celebration of the "Buddhist" New Year varies by both geographic region and ethnicity in the predominantly Buddhist countries of Asia.

From http://www.buddhanet.net/festival.htm:

Buddhist New Year - In Theravadin countries, Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Lao, the new year is celebrated for three days from the first full moon day in April. In Mahayana countries the new year starts on the first full moon day in January. However, the Buddhist New Year depends on the country of origin or ethnic background of the people. As for example, Chinese, Koreans and Vietnamese celebrate late January or early February according to the lunar calendar, whilst the Tibetans usually celebrate about one month later.

Perhaps in New Jersey there is a sizable population of Chinese students who might be celebrating Chinese Lunar New Year and this was designated as an allowable "religious" day off as a practical matter? In any case, it seems to carry more ethnic significance than religious significance. (Can't imagine that ethnic Chinese students who are Christian, for example, would be any less interested in the celebrations! :)

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  • Thank you robin for expressing so clearly what I wasn't sure how to express. – Anthony Jan 14 '15 at 2:04
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    Thanks @qweilun. I'm finding figuring out which Buddhist holidays have actual religious significance as opposed to cultural significance has been challenging. From what I've read it seems to be the Buddha's birthday/enlightenment day/parinibbana day (which is 3 separate occasions in Japan but one day in most other places), plus the day commemorating the first sermon and the day commemorating the establishment of the monastic order. If there are others, let me know. It's a learning process. :) – Robin111 Jan 14 '15 at 13:07

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