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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Two Eids: Muslim People Celebrate Too!

    Many people associate this time of year with colorful Christmas lights, warm fires, and gift giving. Some people believe that this is the most wonderful time of the year because of the holiday spirit and the anticipation of exchanging gifts.

    As a Pakistani Muslim, I am often asked what nationality and religion, as well as what holiday I celebrate in place of Christmas or Chanukkah. This leads to a conversation in which I explain the concept of Eid and how it is celebrated.

    Eid is the name of a celebration, and there are two that Muslims observe in a year. The first Eid just passed in October, following the holy month of Ramadan. During Ramadan, Muslims fast and make an attempt to get in touch with their spirituality.

    Eid ul-Fitr is the holiday following Ramadan. It commences with a prayer that is often performed in a Mosque, and then celebratory feasting. Children are often given money as small gifts from family and friends. Eid ul-Fitr is the Eid of Feasting, since Fitr means ‘to break fast’, and signals the end of Ramadan.

    The second Eid is Eid ul-Adha, which generally follows Eid ul-Fitr by 70 days. This is the Eid of ‘Qurban’, or Sacrifice. This Eid is in celebration of the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son, Ishmael in the name of God (Allah, in Arabic). Eid ul-Adha follows the Islamic pilgrimage of Hajj, falling on the tenth day of the Islamic month of Dhul Hijj.

    After explaining my piece about these two special celebrations that Muslims get per year, people are often left stunned that we don’t dress up a tree or light candles for a given number of days. People often ask if there is anything else to do during these holidays.

    To be quite frank, our holidays are more about finding spirituality and prayer than they are about celebration. There is usually monetary exchange between parents and children, however there is little else. We pray and celebrate the history in our religion. It is a chance to take a break from the hubbub of life and concentrate on family and religion.

    When it comes down to it, our holidays may not always fall into the Season of Joy. However when they come around, we step back and enjoy our own season for a day. Generally these Eids are three or four day celebrations of family and religion, however with the greatest importance put on the first day of Eid, most celebrations commence on this day.

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