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A Muslim Christmas

December 31, 2017

It’s a simple question:  why isn’t there a Muslim Christmas?  It could be a mid-winter holiday, equivalent to Christmas.  Wouldn’t it be in the spirt of the things we all say at a Christmas holiday party?

Peace on earth.  Good will to all men.

Of course, a mid-winter holiday is limited to locations on earth that actually have winter.  This holiday generally came from a previous tradition, usually from thousands of years ago.  Conditions for a mid-winter holiday were only right in Europe.  In European cultures, Christianity replaced the mid-winter holiday with Christmas.

Even though Christianity originated in Palestine, when it spread to Europe, conditions were right for Christmas.  Europeans already had a mid-winter festival.  The replacement, Christmas, was a minor holy day.  Easter is the holiest day of the Christian calendar, symbolizing rebirth and redemption.  Christmas has been commercialized, making it a major secular holiday now.  Europeans also used a solar calendar, with Christmas occurring on a fixed day of that calendar.

What about hanukkah?  Of course, there’s no winter in the middle east, where Judiasm began.  Hanukkah is an ancient religious festival, unrelated to winter or Christmas.  Until recently, it was a minor holy day.  It does happen to occur in December, although it wanders throughout the month because of their lunar-solar calendar.  It does coincide with northern winter.  Sometimes it even coincides with Christmas.  Because of that timing, hanukkah has been adopted as the Jewish Christmas by some people.

There’s Kwanzaa too, even though there’s no winter in Africa.  Kwanzaa was created recently, in the USA.  It’s not widely celebrated.  There were hundreds of tribes in Africa, each with their own distictive culture.  Kwanzaa was intended to unify black people in the USA, people who are decended from African slaves, people who were torn from their original culture.  To some extent, it’s become the Christmas celebration for black people.

Can’t we do the same thing for Muslims?  First of all, there’s no winter in Arabia, where Islam began.  Secondly, there’s no existing holy day that can be used.  All of the Muslim holy days migrate year by year.  This behavior is a result of their lunar calendar.  For the same reason, festival days of earlier traditions also migrate across the European solar calendar.  There cannot be a Muslim Christmas.

In reality, Christmas is a Christian holiday.  It has been heavily commercialized.  Still, it can be a religious holiday, with Christian symbols and religious Christmas carols.  Of course, some Christmas celebrations are not very religious, just like some Christmas carols can be completely non-religious.  We certainly can welcome people from other cultures to a Christmas holiday party.  They may be uncomfortable in a Christian setting, but we can still open our arms, and our hearts, to them.

 

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