As Muslims we have two festivals of celebration, Eid al-adha (festival of sacrifice) and Eid al-fitr (festival of fast-breaking). Then you have your other celebrations mixed in there such as niqaa (celebration of marriage) and akhiqa (celebration of birth), but in general it is the main two Eid Festivals that we look forward to yearly.
I, like many other Muslims living in America reverted to Islam as an adult. I know first hand that this revelation of having only two festivals of celebration can be a hard concept to swallow for new Muslims.
Think about it for a minute, the time between Halloween and New Years Day is filled with family traditions. The Holiday season is what brings families together, its a time of year when you get to visit and celebrate with family members that you don’t see every day. Not celebrating the Holidays is a drastic change that represents a loss of family and can bring on feelings of loneliness.
Don’t fret there are some steps you can can take to make the transition easier on you and your family. You can counteract the feelings of loneliness by Redefining Family Traditions within your own home.
Redefining Family Traditions
- Attend a Conference – Most Muslim Communities will have some type of conference that correlates with each major Holiday on the Georgian Calendar. You could plan ahead and travel to one outside of your community, this will be a fun time that you’re family will look forward to.
- Learn Together – Do a family research project! Yay, this could actually be really fun. Research different Holidays to find out what their origin is then pull together some proofs from the Quran and Sunnah to explain why Muslims should not participate in these Holidays.
Make the most of your Eid Celebrations. We as Muslims celebrate two festivals each year, make the most of it.
Get Everyone on Board
- No Call List – Call your most important family members in the days and weeks leading up to a Holiday. Give them a kind reminder that you do not celebrate the Holiday in question and ask that they please not call with well wishes on that day. You can take it a step further by educating your non Muslim family members about the two Eid celebrations and explain that this would be a great time for them to call and express their well wishes or send gifts for your children.
- Notify Teachers and School Staff – Both public and private schools are required to follow Federal and State mandated Holiday schedules. If your child attends public school the school may even have scheduled Holiday celebrations. Notify your child’s teacher and other necessary school staff ahead of time letting them know that your child will not be participating in any Holiday celebrations. Request that your child be allowed to go to another area when these celebrations are taking place, if the school can not accommodate your request don’t second guess the idea of keeping them home.
Benefits of Not participating in Holidays
- Save Money – Most of these Holidays are surrounded by the idea of spending money. Spending money on food, gifts, new clothes, costumes, decoration, etc. I mean really the list is endless, but you don’t have to worry about that. Keep your money in your pocket, in the bank, stuffed in your mattress, whatever your desired savings method is, I’m not one to judge.
- Days To Relax – You’ll get paid time off of work regardless of whether you’re celebrating or not. Now you have more time to spend with your non Muslim family and get some much required rest and relaxation. P.S. the two Eid Festivals are easy days to get off of work because most likely no one else is requesting those same days off.
- Extra Pay – If your job is open on Holidays you can sign up to work and make some extra money. Some employers offer an incentive of Holiday pay.