Last Updated 21 Apr 2020

Religious Holidays

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Religious Holidays Paper There are various religious holidays that are celebrated worldwide by the many differing religions. Each holiday celebrates a certain prophet, event, or date that is important to their specific belief. Two such religious holidays are the Muslim Eid al-Fitr and the Christian Christmas. Eid-al Fitr is an important Muslim holiday that signifies the end of the month of Ramadan. It is also called The Feast of Breaking Fast, The Sugar Feast and The Sweet Festival. The month of Ramadan is meant to be spent fasting so on Eid al Fitr, Muslims are meant to break this fast.

This day also marks the start of the month of Shawwal, which is the time where “Muslims around the world try to show a common goal of unity” (Eid). This holiday has a specific Islamic prayer called salat that is given in two pieces. Muslims congregate to hear this prayer in a large mosque or gathering hall. They prayer is different depending on which juristic opinion is followed whether it be fard, mustahabb or mandoob. Muslims believe that they are commanded by god to fast until Eid al-Fitr where they give zakat, or a portion of ones wealth as a tax, and fitra, their constitution of being.

The holiday of Eid was first started in “Madinah after the migration of Muhammed from Mecca” (SOS). Muhammed came to the people of Madinah and told them of the two holidays that God has made for them to celebrate. They are an occasion to show gratitude to God and remember him as well as a day of entertainment for Muslims. Some typical food eaten on Eid is Badami Gosht, Badam Phirni, and Nawabi Biryani. These dishes are spicy, and some contain meat while others are all vegetarian. A common saying during Eid is “Eid Muburak” which means happy Eid.

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The day starts off with keeping the traditions of the prophet Muhammed. Muslims wake up early, say a pre-sunrise prayer, brush their teeth with a toothbrush, wear their finest clothes, and put on perfume. It is forbidden to fast on Eid so “Muslims have a feast on this day as well as listen to the Eid prayer in a large group” (SOS). Eid gifts known as Eidi are given on this day to children and relatives. Christmas is an important Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Both Christians and non-Christians all around the world celebrate Christmas on December 25.

This day “marks the beginning of Christmastide, which ends on the 12th day” (Christmas). Christmastide is one of the seasons of the liturgical year of most Christian churches. Christians celebrate Christmas day as the fulfillment of the Messaic Prophecy in the Old Testament. It goes that Jesus was born to the Virgin Mary on December 25 in a manger. The Three Kings that brought “gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh” visited baby Jesus (Origin). Christians put up special decorations in and around their house.

They put up Christmas lights around the borders of their homes as well as various props that light up. Some include snowmen, Santa Clause, or Jesus in the manger. The colors that signify Christmas are red and green. Red represents the blood of Jesus while green represents eternal life. The Christmas tree comes from pagan rituals surrounding the winter solstice involving evergreens. It is now incorporated in the holiday of Christmas. The idea of Santa Clause comes from the man Saint Nicholas. He would check the behavior of children and decide whether they deserved gifts or not.

Nicholas would secretly put gifts such as coins in people’s shoes. This began the idea of gift giving on Christmas day. A traditional Christmas meal is had on this day with various dishes including ones specific to Christmas. These include mince pies, fruitcakes, and Christmas pudding. Both Christmas and Eid al-Fitr share some similar qualities. Both can be called many different names. For example Christmas can be called Xmas and Eid can be called The Sugar Feast. They both are religious holidays that have been started because of a great prophet or messiah.

Both holidays have “historical significance that relates back to either Muhammed or Jesus” (What). These holidays share the basic principle of happiness and cheer, as well as giving. Feasts along with foods that are specific to the holiday are important parts of both Christmas and Eid al-Fitr. Gifts are given in Christmas and Eid as a sign of good fortune a care. While there are similarities between the two holidays, there are also many differences. Eid marks the end of one month and the start of another in contrast with Christmas, which is only significant to one day.

Christmas involves decorating your house while Eid does not. Eid also does not have a figure that is tied to gift giving like Christmas does. A major difference between Christmas and Eid is that “many non-Christians celebrate the holiday of Christmas” (What). Only Muslims celebrate Eid however and it is not as widely accepted by non-Muslims. The religious holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Christmas are both important days to two different religions. These days share some of the same characteristics while also differing in various aspects that make them unique and important to those that celebrate them.

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