Happy Diwali? Merry Ramadan?


An angel hangs on a Christmas tree.

No Christmas.

No nativity scenes, no Christmas Eve service, and no angel atop a Christmas tree.

There are several Brashier students who do not celebrate what has become the traditional American Christmas. But they say they aren’t missing out.

“We celebrate something called Eid. It’s like Christmas, we get presents,” says Kamran Warsi, a Muslim student.

Many students who do not celebrate Christmas as most people do enjoy celebrating other religious holidays. Senior Priti Patel, a Hindu student, shares her family traditions.

“Two major holidays I celebrate are Raksha Bandhan and Diwali. These holidays are part of my culture and religion,” she says. “However, I think giving and receiving presents is fun; it seems to be part of a universal culture.”

Raksha Bandhan is a summer holiday that is celebrated in August.

“Raksha Bandhan emphasizes the relationship between brothers and sisters. My brothers and other male cousins pledge to ‘protect’ me and other female cousins,” Patel says. “During Raksha Bandhan, the girls tie a thread around their brothers, and in return, the brothers give money or gifts.”

Diwali, the Indian New Year, is celebrated between the end of October and the beginning of November.

“During Diwali, our friends and family gather together, and we go to temple, where there are fireworks and vast amounts of food and rejoicing. The idea of gathering family during Thanksgiving and Christmas is also important during Raksha Bandhan and Diwali. They only seem to be separated by cultural differences and beliefs,” says Patel.

Kamran Warsi, a Muslim student, says he is looking forward to Thanksgiving.

“I do celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s a tradition any American would celebrate. I was born here, in Alabama, so my family has been celebrating Thanksgiving,” he says. “We don’t celebrate Christmas of course.”

Muslims do not celebrate Christmas because it is a Christian holiday. However, they have other Islamic holidays they do celebrate.

“Ramadan, that’s another holiday we celebrate. Ramadan is where we fast from sunrise to sunset and basically, we celebrate in the name of Adam, I believe,” says Warsi.

Ramadan is a month of renewal for Muslims. They focus entirely on their faith and worshipping during this holiday.

“We fast for the whole month and we read the Qur’an, do our daily five prayers, and worship,” says Warsi.

Although it may seem unusual not to celebrate Christmas, many people of other religions celebrate their holidays with as just as much enthusiasm.