Forgotten holidays


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With carols being played on every radio station, Christmas decorations being put up just about everywhere and holiday shoppers scampering around the malls for gifts, it’s nearly impossible to escape the Christmas season in the United States. Many people who celebrate the holidays are celebrating for the festivities of giving and receiving, of sitting on Santa’s lap and sipping eggnog, but many people forget that this is a Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ.

In a country that prohibits the government from endorsing a particular faith, Christmas, a Christian celebration, is a federal holiday. Where does that leave other religious groups? Many people who are so caught up with, 1) The commercialization of Christmas, and 2) The celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ often don’t realize that Christians are the largest religious group in the United States, but there are many other religions that make up the “face” of the country such as Judaism, Hinduism, Muslim and more. These faiths, being the minority, may face a difficult time during the holidays. People of other faiths, sometimes experience a sense of cultural alienation at Christmas time.

Why do we not celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha for the Muslim population, or the Passover for the Jewish population? Parents of children of different faiths are pressured to conform to the Christian holiday because of the need to be accepted and assimilated into American society. Kids learn about Santa Claus and his bag of gifts from their friends at school. They see that others have Christmas trees and decorations on their lawns. They sing Christmas carols at school, they feel restless and wonder why they are not receiving gifts or participating in the holidays.

We do not realize that there are end of the year holidays celebrated from other religious groups, such as the Jewish Hanukah and the Hindus’ Diwali, both referred to as “festivals of lights.” Ultimately, I think we are faced with a choice: Should we continue celebrating Christmas as a Christian form of celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ or should we all together drop the idea of the holidays as a Christian religious celebration? I think that we should not be ignorant of the fact that Christmas became recognized as a federal holiday in the mid 1800’s where the majority of the population was of Christian background. Few people foresaw a day when Jews, Muslims and other non-Christians would become significant minorities in the United States.

In the long run, we must all remember that we are a melting pot of ethnicities and religious groups. We also must not forget that Christians and their holidays should not be forced upon other minority religious groups, due to pressure to be accepted in American society. We must respect other religious groups that celebrate important holidays and traditions. We must remember that the holidays are a time of peace on earth and goodwill to men, and acceptance of other religious holidays definitely part of that. Happy Holidays!