Best way to check if today is school or vacation


I want to be able to check whether today is a schoolday or vacation.
With EPHEMIRIS I would be able to check wether today is a national holliday. But that still doesn’t give me the info about the schoolvacations.

I’m living in Belgium and in this region the schoolvacations are defined in just a few lines. I’m sure I could build a small rule that calculates whether today is a vacation-day or not. The results of this rule would be valid for many years to come.

Before I do that I would like to check with the community is this is the best way.

I have read the use of CallDav to poll a google calendar. A think, but I’m not sure that for this I need to build my own google calendar and enter the schoolvacations…each year.

I thought of building a custom xml that EPHEMERIS could use but again that would need to be changed each year.

I have searched the internet for a REST-service that would give me the info I need but I did not find anything usefull.

Maybe (probably :slight_smile: ) I’m overlooking the obvious (again :slight_smile: ) and someone can point me to a ‘less effort’ way?


I would have taught the same, the requirement for an annual change is caused by the national requirement. However, can’t you pull the annual vacation setting somewhere only and parse it somehow?

Not sure this will help. Here in the US it’s a bit more complicated as there are national holidays and local/state holidays. Some holidays are common, some are not. The fix here is: each school district publishes their own calendar with the specific dates. Also, even if specific holidays fall on a weekend, we still get the day off, either before/after the holiday.

So, if your school/work publishes a calendar, the best option is to program that once a year, in Google Calendar or else.

Maybe in Belgium some web service exists that you could use.
In Germany there is e.g. Ferien-API which is free to use.

But you won´t be able to cover everything as long as there is no web service from the school itself - in Germany each school has some variable days they can as as it fits to their planning.
Maybe the school publishes a google calender for their students?

I’ve come across needing the same information also for school schedules, as JB_63 mentioned using a google calendar is how I went about this.

However instead of putting in the vacation days, I get the first day of school and do a repeat to the last day of school. Once all of that information is in place I then look up the holidays/teacher inservice days and remove the repeat entry for that day.
Now what I quickly discovered you can’t use the all day event option for a school day, as the binding I use (not the CalDav one) hates all day events; it wants a start time and end time. When the event happens it flips the virtual item for rule purposes to fire off correctly or prevent them from firing.

While this does take some time to setup, I weigh it against how much time I’m saving not having to go to different rooms and ensure people in my house are waking up on time.

Hi All,

Many thanks for all sugestions!

Can we agree that working with Google Calendar or an EPHEMERIS xml file needs to be updated each year?

If that is the case and since I don’t find a Belgian version of

I’m thinking of creating the rule.
(I would have preferred working with a webservice that returns the info)

Belgium is in many ways a complicated small country but when it comes to defining when a schoolvacation starts/ends then it is remarkebly easy (I did not know before this morning that our schoolvacations are defined in just a few lines)
For example Spring brake starts the 7th monday before Easter…it is dead easy.
Easter-vacaction is slightly more difficult due to a few exceptiotion but still no problem I think.
Today it is already defined what happens with schoolholidays when a national holliday falls in the weekend.
Realy very easy!
Those rules are valid for the years to come.

I know that all schools have a few days of vacation that they can choose themselves.
Not decided yet what to do with these.
The important thing here is that if I succeed to have a good working rule “Check if today is schoolday in BE” than I cover more than 95% of all yearly schooldays. (I have the feeling that should be ok)


How are these holidays defined? If they are fixed days, relative days (e.g. third Thursday after the first Monday of the month) or religious holidays based on alternative calendars (e.g. Easter) Ephemeris already handles it.

I’m about 80% sure you can define that in the Ephemeris custom config XML. I’ll try to remember to try it and come back when I have time to but for those who want to look at Jollyday (link in the docs).

But you still need to manually update for the remaining 5% every year, or live with the fact that 5% of the time it will be wrong.

I was actually at this very moment reading into this possibility. Hoping to findout what would be best.
I came to the conclusion that todays standard Ephemeris is already “calculating” relative national holidays like Easter. That is why I thought it would be maybe possible?

Not (yet) sure though, of what the advantage of a custom xml file over a rule could be?

What can I say? Correct.