Community leaders are pushing the city to include three Hindu holidays in the school calendar.
Dozens of protesters gathered on the steps of City Hall demanding school be closed for the Hindu holidays Diwali, Janmashtami and Dussera.
Census data show more than 200,000 city residents are Asian- Indian; many of whom celebrate these holidays.
Demonstrators say it's time for city schools to recognize its diverse student population.
"How can you have a healthy environment and happy children, when on the day of their celebration you ask them to go to school and take their exam?" one protester said.
"New York City is a great diversified city, but when we look at the school calendar, holiday calendar, we don't see that," said another protester.
"It's unfair because other kids in the school have their holidays exactly on school days and we should have that too so we can feel like we're a part of our culture," said one young protester.
The push comes about a month after Mayor Bill de Blasio added two Muslim holy days to the public school calendar.