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Eid is just as important as Easter

MON. | 05-02-22 | OPINION

     Breaks from school are well-appreciated by both students and staff. Whether they are two weeks long or just half a day, they help people recharge from the stress of education. Most American holidays are aligned with traditional Christian celebrations, such as Christmas and Easter, as well as other American celebrations, like Thanksgiving, Labor Day, MLK Jr. Day and Columbus Day. However, other major holidays that are not directly relevant to Christian American culture are neglected and swept aside. 

     There are five major religions in the world. Christianity is one of them, but there are four others that have next to no recognition in schools: Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism. Islam specifically has two major holidays that are ignored by most school systems: Eid-al-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha. You can call them both Eid for short, but they are celebrating two different events. Eid-al-Fitr, specifically, is celebrating the end of Ramadan. For those who may not know, Ramadan is a month-long fasting celebration Muslims participate in each year. From sunrise to


Photos by Safi Waqas

sundown, Muslims do not eat or drink anything during the month, not even water. They wake up before sunrise to eat a big breakfast and pray, then wait until after sunset to eat and pray again. The month is supposed to be both a time of spiritual and physical cleansing by reading the holy Quran, praying, and resetting your body’s bad eating habits. 

     After the month of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate their spiritual growth by gathering with family, friends and their community to celebrate Eid. Many families wake up early to dress up in cultural clothing and go to the mosque to pray a special Eid prayer. I have had to wake up at 5:30 a.m. just to get showered and ready to go pray. At the local mosque in Greenville, lots of parents would make goodie bags for the kids to take with them after prayer. They always had good candy and little toys in them to distract the kids while the parents talked. Overall, the day is much like a giant religious brunch. 

     What breaks my heart every year is that it is very hard to see my family for Eid. They only live a few hours away, but some years we aren’t able to celebrate together. One major reason behind that is because most American schools and workplaces do not recognize Eid as an official holiday, and as a result, Muslims and their friends do not get any time off to celebrate. Eid often falls during the school year, and my family doesn't like for their kids to miss school if they don’t have to. On some years when Eid fell on a weekday, we just called each other to say hello, and that was it. 

     Eid should be recognized as an official holiday. It may be hard to do wide-scale across the U.S., but I would at least like to see it done in Pitt County. Even if it was just one day off, instead of a week like Christmas and Easter, I would be really happy. I love seeing my little cousins, and I love telling my aunts about how life is going. Eid is always one of the best days to spend time with family and have fun, and I am very sad every time I have to miss out on it because I have school or my family has work.
     If Eid-al-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha were given a day off of school, more people would become aware of the significance of Eid to Muslims. This is especially needed, as most people I know are not well-informed and even misinformed on Islam, let alone one of its holidays. I hope in the future there is a change to include Muslims in enjoying time off of school to spend with family and celebrate their own spiritual practices.

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