Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Fess up

OK, so I have to fess up to something... I kinda miss celebrating the holidays (as in thanksgiving and Christmas).

I hope I am not alone in this, but every year as the holiday season rolls around I grow a little nostalgic thinking of Christmas trees and holiday baking. Maybe I could chalk it up feeling like the Islamic holidays are not a big event here in the states... Maybe it is some sort of wanting to retreat to an easier time in my life... I can't say for sure.

I am not bagging on Muslim holidays by any means. I just feel like some days I would really love to be baking a turkey in the oven and decorating a tree. Not because of the holiday it represents, but because of the sort of cultural holiday season it all represents. Religion was never a big part of the holidays in my family, we were strictly consumer American holiday types.

I guess it honestly just amounts to a weakness in iman of some sort. And I think it is also about me not feeling settled in my life even though we have a family and technically should be settled. Anyway, I just wanted to share... Thinking I can't be totally alone in this!

Edit right after posting:
I was just thinking that a big factor could also be the familiarity of American holidays. I know them well... No invention, just family tradition. As a Muslim family we are caught between our two cultures trying to make holiday traditions of our own, and it is just plain hard.


Surviving said...

I also miss celebrating holidays. My mom did quite a bit for the holidays. So it may just be that I miss my mom and how she pulled the family together.

Surviving said...

I think part of me would like to create similar memories for my children. I just don't know how to combine the 2 cultures in my home so that we can create memories and traditions of our own.

home school cirriculums said...

UmmLayla it sounds like your school year is very much on track! After reading Fess up, I feel it would make a perfect article for my site homeschool, with your permission.

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Anonymous said...

Salaam 'Alaikum

I still celebrate Thanksgiving. It's a non religious holiday that can be approached from an Islamic viewpoint -- it's all about shukr, right? When Ramadan was occurring more in the middle of November and into December, my iftar dinners were turkey w/ all the trimmings. (I woulda done it this time, but could not find a halal or kosher turkey to save my life. I guess they only sell them around that time of year...).

Anyway, over at, both Sidi Faraz and Sidi Hajj Gibril have said it is permissible to give gifts w/ the intention of strengthening family ties / bonds, and to have dinner w/ them as long as there isn't wine or haram at the table. Go search "Christmas" if you want to see the whole answer.

But I know I do enjoy those "Christmas" candles and scents such as bayberry, etc. OTOH, they don't "belong" to Christmas... we just associate them w/ it... so maybe I can indeed have it and associate it with the winter season or just scents that I like? -- Umm mZaid

Anonymous said...

Salaams: Disclaimer: The above comment from moi is in no way meant to discount anyone's personal understanding of Islam that to celebrate anything other than the two 'Eids is haram. Nor is it meant to invite comments about me that I'm a person of bid'a, kafir, etc. -- UZ

UmmZaynab said...

Ooh, I remember years ago when I admitted this feeling on a Muslim sisters' email list and how I had people jumping down my throat about it. I still feel the same way. Especially about the tree thing.

But I have adapted a lot of "holiday tradition" things that are not necessarily "Christmas" things to my Eid celebrations. My friend and I were talking about the concept recently that things like lighting candles or putting up holiday decorations (in the broad sense) are not something that are only for non-Muslims, they are universal things that all people do when they have holidays. We put up lights on Eid that I bought from the "Christmas lights" display but they are not necessarily Christmas. My friend and I were discussing how the whole concept of hanging lights in Ramadhan in general goes back to the days when ppl went out late at night for tarawih prayer and had to carry lanterns/candles/etc to light the way in the days before electricity. The Sahabah did not need this incidentally because there is a Hadeeth which mentions that Allah gave the Sahabah their own light that shone from their souls and they didn't need any other light subHaan Allah.

We're also doing Thanksgiving with my parents now that they have moved here and since they missed having Eid with us (we were still in Syria) so we're going to have Eid/Thanksgiving together with the traditional turkey dinner. Just in time too because after 3 months abroad I am seriously craving a big meal of good ol' American food!

Personally I found the whole celebration of Eid in Syria to be quite boring but then again that could be because we weren't able to go to Eid prayer for reasons I won't get into and because dh's family is poor.

The other interesting issue is how Christmas and Thanksgiving are on the solar calendar and therefore come at the same time every year so the traditions associated with them are very much related to the season, whereas with the lunar calendar, Muslim holidays rotate through the calendar. I guess this may make it a little more difficult to establish specific "traditions"?

By the way I'm back so you can call me at any time. :)