Not Everyone Celebrates Christmas

     Not everyone celebrates Christmas. That’s a pretty well-known fact. Christmas is a holiday with a religious basis, and it is generally considered to be Christ’s birthday. In today’s day and age, Christmas has become a tradition that has grown past the religious foundation from which it began and turned into a modern representation of joy, kindness, giving and family.

    Specific circumstances aside, the Thanksgiving-Christmas season is widely considered a happy time.

 

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    But again, not everyone celebrates Christmas. The number of different beliefs maintained and practiced by individuals around the world grows constantly. We live in an age where freedom of thought is extremely important and exercised by many people. You don’t have to be Christian to celebrate Christmas nor do you need to believe in a higher power. 

    The modern interpretations of Christmas make it possible for any and everyone to be a part of a celebration of who we are and what we are lucky to have. Every religion has its celebration that encompasses the same values we find relevant and important to Christmas, a.k.a the Christmas spirit. For example, in Islam, Ramadan is celebrated.

    Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar (celebrated in April-May). It is a holiday that consists of fasting, reflection, prayer, and community. The holiday is meant to cleanse an individual and deepen their connection to God. It is a holiday that surrounds family, community, togetherness and love. For Muslims, this holiday embodies similar values to that of Christmas and is a time of strength and togetherness through community and religion. Feasting at the end of the day is a community event that brings family and friends together and brings joy to them. And just like in Christianity, this isn’t the only holiday or celebration that embodies these values. 

 

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    What about Judaism? Your first thought might be of Hanukkah. Hanukkah is indeed a time for family, giving, and love. However, like Islam and Christianity, there are more traditions such as Purim and Sukkot. Purim resembles a Jewish version of Halloween on the outside, but there is a much deeper religious basis and it is a much larger celebration of differences and connections between individuals. Sukkot is a time for gathering of friends and family. Again, togetherness, kindness and joy all have a place.

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     Having grown up overseas, living in Turkey and Israel, respectively, I have seen a lot of different interpretations and expressions of Islam, Judaism, Christianity and of general different values that different people express. But it also means I have seen a lot of the negative and positive responses to these different views. The world is a big place that is constantly changing and as we live, we change with it. We are constantly learning and experiencing new things and as a result we are able to better understand and accept differences.

 

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    Often, however, our views can be clouded and misguided by media, opinions of others, or pure ignorance, leading us to miss the bigger picture. People often forget to try and see different perspectives in order to truly understand what is going on.

    People sometimes carry out horrors in the name of religion there is also so much good that occurs from religion. Beliefs that may have developed a negative stigma in certain areas of the world, have a lot more to them and are a huge part of history and culture. 

 

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    With Christmas time coming around, even though not everyone celebrates Christmas or shares the same beliefs, we are all still capable of upholding its values. In this modern age that we live in, with so much information coming at us every day, being open-minded should be a part of that. Understanding that we are different is just as important as understanding how we are different. Through sharing these differences we are able learn more and grow. The more we know about the world, the more we have a chance to be a part of it. 

    So no, not everyone celebrates Christmas but everyone celebrates what it means. Everything going on around us is a unique phenomenon. We have every opportunity to accept that and celebrate it, letting ourselves become more and more a part of our entire world. Let’s use this time to be grateful for all that we have and all that we are. And, of course, happy holidays to all.​ merry christmas GIF by Chippy the dog