Alternate side parking suspensions are cause for rejoicing in the celebrations of all faiths

I was in New York recently and was reminded of the morning parking ritual -- move the car before the street cleaners come at 9 a.m., except on days when alternate side parking is suspended. Alternate side parking is suspended for all the legal holidays (including Christmas and New Year's, which are Catholic holy days as well) and sometimes for snow. Parking rules are also suspended for a variety of religious holidays and one ethnic one. Here they are:

Ash Wednesday: Feb. 18
Asian Lunar New Year: Feb. 19
Purim: March 5
Holy Thursday: April 2
Good Friday: April 3
First and second days of Passover: April 4-5
Holy Thursday (Orthodox): April 9
Good Friday (Orthodox): April 10
Seventh and eighth days of Passover: April 10-11
Solemnity of the Ascension: May 14
Shavuot: May 24-25
Eid al-Fitr: July 17-19
Feast of the Assumption: Aug. 15
Rosh Hashanah: Sept. 14-15
Yom Kippur: Sept. 23
Eid al-Adha: Sept. 23-25
Succoth: Sept. 28-29
Shemini Atzereth: Oct. 5
Simchas Torah: Oct. 6
All Saints Day : Nov. 1
Diwali: Nov. 11
Immaculate Conception: Dec. 8

My rejoicing is less, perhaps, because I don't live in New York or drive a car there. Nonetheless, I am wowed by the length of the list. Diwali is the Hindu Festival of Lights. There are two Muslim feasts: Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan and Eid al-Adha ends the hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca. We have the Asian New Year. Nine are Catholic holy days and key liturgical events. Nine recognize Jewish holy events, though four of these nine are really two-day celebrations, giving Jews the lead, if we're counting.

But really, who's counting? These are mornings when parking is easier. Well, maybe the Muslims and Hindus and Sikhs and Taoists are counting. And if they look at the list, evangelicals and Pentecostals might feel a twinge of irritation. Really, I don't mind that the Jews are beating the Catholics. But when we fold in another 11 state holidays (from New Year's and Martin Luther King through Election Day to Thanksgiving and Christmas), I'm not surprised that sometimes New York City looks a little dirty. But maybe most of these days, the street cleaners attend to highways, median strips and roads within the park system.

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