For the first time ever, my school district is giving our students today tomorrow and Wednesday off for the Muslim holiday Eid. Apparently, this is something that a group of students in my district has been pushing for with the school board for the last few years. The decision was made to make it a school holiday because approximately 10% of my school district is Muslim.
For those and I don’t know, Eid Al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, the holiest month of the Muslim year. As Muslims fast during daylight hours during the month of Ramadan, Eid marks the end of this holy month with a large feast.
Now, my current school district isn’t the first school that I’ve worked at that is gotten time off for Eid. However this year, the Eid holiday feels a little bit different for me. No. I’m not Muslim; nor am I converting to Islam. This past Friday, however, felt it for an as we were getting ready to leave school. Even though I’m not Muslim, it felt like the last school day before holiday. I haven’t experience that before with a holiday that I didn’t celebrate.
As I mentioned earlier, I did previously work at a charter school that took time off for Eid as well. Roughly 90% of that school’s population was Muslim. One thing that was really interesting to me within that school population was seeing how excited my Muslim students got about the Christmas holiday. They took part in some of the non-secular aspects: Christmas lights, singing “Jingle Bells”. I’m not saying this to suggest that “everyone is a little Christian” or anything. But i shows me that, as corny as this may sound, there is a universal happiness that people feel around a holiday. Even if it’s not a holiday that they celebrate. As Will Smith once opined: “school is out and it’s sort of a buzz // A back then I didn’t really know what it was”
“School is out and it’s sort of a buzz // A back then I didn’t really know what it was”Will Smith
I was pleasantly surprised to see this “non-religious holiday excitement“ with my Muslim students at the previous school. Likewise, I was excited to see it again during Eid with my non-Muslim students as well
I’m sure all two of you out there reading this are thinking: “yeah, you guys are just excited because you didn’t have any school the next day “. I’m sure, for some people, that is true; but we also get election day off in the schools, and I don’t recall seeing or experiencing any of that excitement going into our “election day break“. As weird as this may sound, I love it. It’s kind of nice to be on “the other side of it“ enjoying the benefit of another religion’s holiday; specifically one that I have very little to do with. And it’s truly great to see non-Christian holidays get more mainstream recognition
And apparently it’s not just me. NPR posted a great story yesterday about the commercialization of Eid, and how that’s a good thing.
I have to wonder what Charlie Brown is going to say about that…