A look at how students who don’t celebrate Christmas feel over the holidays

Jillian Grinnell

By Jillian Grinnell

As a child, junior Enas Omer says she used to “feel left out when other children would talk about their presents and traditions,” because she is Muslim and wears a hijab.

“When I was about five or six, I was confused that we didn’t do the same things as everyone else,” said Omer. “But as I got older, I realized the differences in religions and why we don’t have the same traditions.”

We are in the midst of the holiday season, and most people are putting up and decorating Christmas trees, listening to festive music, and watching classic seasonal movies, but in our society where the majority of people are Christian, we forget to acknowledge that not everyone celebrates Christmas.

Despite Islam and Christianity having many differences, they also share some similarities. “We both believe in one true God,” said Omer. “But we believe that Jesus was just a prophet.”

In the religion of Judaism, Jesus is also viewed as only another prophet, not the son of God. Junior Ethan Richardson celebrates Hanukkah, which is the Festival of Lights.

It is called the festival of lights because “the Jewish people only had a lamp and enough oil for one day,” said Richardson. “But it burned for eight whole days, and the eight candles on a menorah represent this.”

Richardson grew up celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas; however, he enjoyed Hanukkah more because, “everything isn’t just on one day, you get a little bit on each day.” When Richardson celebrates Hanukkah now, he and his sisters “read Hebrew and say prayers.”

Although Christmas is supposed to be a time to remember the advent of Jesus into the world, a main part of the holiday today is the giving and receiving of gifts. “I think it’s changed [the holiday] a lot from what it once was,” said Richardson. “I’m not complaining though because everyone is always happy to get gifts.”

It is important to remember what the Christmas season is truly about, while also “relaxing, enjoying the break, and spending time with family and friends,” said Omer.