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Beyond Christmas; the importance in acknowledging other holidays

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Beyond Christmas; the importance in acknowledging other holidays

Senior Varun Vedula and Freshman Tarun Vedula celebrate the hindu holiday Diwali

Senior Varun Vedula and Freshman Tarun Vedula celebrate the hindu holiday Diwali

Photo credit to Shravanthi Vedula

Senior Varun Vedula and Freshman Tarun Vedula celebrate the hindu holiday Diwali

Photo credit to Shravanthi Vedula

Photo credit to Shravanthi Vedula

Senior Varun Vedula and Freshman Tarun Vedula celebrate the hindu holiday Diwali

Ashlee Kwak, Social Media Manager

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Around this time of year, everywhere people go, it is likely that they will run into something that relates to Christmas. Most assume that everyone celebrates Christmas because it’s such a widely known holiday, but that is not the case.

Especially within the Pleasant Valley district, there are many people who don’t celebrate Christmas. These students celebrate other holidays that pertain to the religion that they are affiliated with. One prime example is Aman Manazir who is a senior at PV. He is Muslim, and therefore, he doesn’t celebrate mainstream Christmas or any other holidays around this time of year. Instead, he celebrates a holiday that is based off the lunar calendar:  Eid-al-Fitr.

For this special time that marks the end of their month of fasting, everyone in their community gathers and says a prayer in the morning, and then celebrates during the day. Manazir described the holiday as as very special because, “You have all of your family, friends, and kids you’ve known for your entire life in that building. It’s a lot of fun because it brings everyone closer as a community.”

Another person from the PV schools who doesn’t celebrate Christmas in the way that everyone else does is senior Varun Vedula. His religion is Hinduism, so for his family, there isn’t much of a religious significance, but they recognize it as a Christian holiday and respect others’ beliefs. Vedula said that for his family,

Christmas is more a time for the celebration of life, thanking the people you love, and and giving and receiving gifts.”

Instead of Christmas, they celebrate the Hindu holiday Diwali, the Festival of Lights. This is one of the largest, and most important festivals in India. During this holiday, “Indians light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects from spiritual darkness,” Vedula said.

Senior, Shayan Pasha, is also among some of the students from PV who don’t celebrate Christmas. His religion is Islam, and even though he and his family don’t celebrate Christmas in a religious manner, he said that they still decorate their house and have fun with the festive aspect of the holiday.

Instead of Christmas, Pasha and his family celebrates two major holidays: Eid-al-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha. Eid-al-Fitr is almost exactly the same as the holiday the Manazir explained above. He said that Eid-al-Adha is, “More on the religious side, but still involves family and friends getting together for the day.” This holiday is known as “the feast of sacrifice”, and it consists of friends and family visiting all day, and prayers in the morning.        

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Beyond Christmas; the importance in acknowledging other holidays