It's the holiday season! There's hustling and bustling in malls and stores getting ready for Christmas, Hannukkah has begun and Kwanza is right around the corner! As someone who has always celebrated Christmas, and probably always will, it's hard to consider what it's like for those who are not celebrating anything this holiday season. I thought I'd get some insight into this idea, so I asked my boyfriend, who is Muslim, what it's really like to not celebrate anything this holiday season? Below are his answers to my questions!
What was it like to not celebrate anything in December as a kid?
Growing up not celebrating Christmas was normal to me, as I knew and understood my religion, but it wasn't normal to everyone else. I would always have to explain to other kids why I didn't get a Christmas present and have to explain that my religion has our own "Christmas" - like holiday that is celebrated at different times during the year instead of during December most of the time. My holiday is different because the dates of it change every year.
What is it like now?
It's fine to not celebrate Christmas or other holidays since I have my own every year. I'm happy that other people are able to have a special day for themselves and their families, but Christmas day is always just another day in my house.
Is there anything you don't like about this holiday season?
There are a couple of things I don't like about the holiday season, like hearing the same music for a month and a half every day on every radio station (except Justin Beiber's "Mistletoe" because that's a great song). I'm not saying that Christmas music is bad, it's just like when "Closer" by The Chainsmokers was popular, it got played so much that it got really annoying. I'm also not a big fan of people saying "Merry Christmas" to everyone they meet, as that assumes that everyone follows the same religion. I think you should only say Merry Christmas is you know the person's religious affiliation. They shouldn't assume especially since Canada is a very diverse and multi-cultural country. Happy holidays is a great alternative when you don't know the person's religious affiliation!
Do you feel like the under-representation of your holiday impacts views on your holiday?
The representation of my holiday isn't very common since Muslim people make up a small percentage of Canadians (3-4%). However, I am seeing more and more representation on TV and the news!
What holiday do you celebrate?
Eid. The first Eid that is celebrated is Eid al-Fitr, which is the Festival of Breaking the Fast. It is considered a time of celebration after accomplishing one of the most important religious duties. This is Ramadan and the fasting that happens from dawn to sunset during the month.
Eid ul Adha is celebrated later in the year and it means the Festival of Sacrifice. Many Muslims perform the Hajj pilgrimage during this time.
I gained a lot of insight by asking my boyfriend these questions, and it was really interesting to learn about another holiday and his thoughts on ours. It's so important to learn and appreciate others' cultures and celebrations, so I hope this article was able to teach you something new! HCXO!