BERLIN (AP) — Schools in Berlin have recognized World Humanist Day as a holiday on a par with All Saints' Day, Yom Kippur and Eid al-Fitr.

The decision means Berlin pupils who subscribe to humanism — a philosophy that rejects the existence of deities — can apply for a day off to celebrate their belief in the same way as Christians, Muslims and Jews do for their holy days.

Arik Platzek, a spokesman for Germany's Humanist Association, said Wednesday the decision "is a positive signal and a good example."

He says it will be the first sanctioned holiday for humanists in any of Germany's 16 states "and as far as we know worldwide."

World Humanist Day was conceived in 1986 and takes place annually on June 21. It often falls on the solstice.