Another reason to say “Happy Holidays!”

Jeremy Aldrich -- December 19th, 2007

Most Muslim kids didn’t go to school today, but don’t panic. It isn’t a conspiracy. It’s because today is a big Muslim holiday called “Eid al-Adha” or simply Eid. The purpose of the day is to commemorate Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Ishmael (that’s right, Muslims believe Ishmael was the favored son and not Isaac). It’s primarily a family holiday, though most families go to mosque for special prayers. A key part of the celebration is the sacrifice of an animal like a sheep, camel, goat or cow (which has to meet certain requirements for health, size, and age). The meat is then partly consumed by the family and partly given away to the poor so they can celebrate as well.

Because the Islamic calendar is different from the Gregorian calendar we use, the date of Eid varies from year to year so it’s rare that it happens around Christmas time. But it probably is more widely celebrated in the US (and of course around the world) than Kwanzaa or Hanukkah. Yet, when have you seen any acknowledgment of it in non-Muslim settings?

The greeting for the day is “Eid Mubarak” which means “have a blessed festival”. An Egyptian student told me that people from Egypt prefer to say “Eid Sayyid” because they dislike the Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak and don’t want his name sullying their festival.

Here’s a joke that you can tailor to your audience as needed:

How do we know that God/Allah told Abraham/Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Isaac/Ishmael when he was very young?

Because if he had been a teenager, it wouldn’t have been a sacrifice!

Eid Mubarak, everybody!

18 Responses to “Another reason to say “Happy Holidays!””

  1. Phil C. says:

    Good post, Gxeremio, but I have to disagree that this is “another reason” to say “Happy Holidays”. I see no reason to do so, actually.

    This is the difference between me and other people on this topic…

    If a Jewish person says “Happy Hanukkah” to me, or someone says “Happy Kwanzaa”, or in this case they say “Eid Mubarak” to me…I’m fine with that, even though I’m a Christian and I celebrate Christmas.

    I feel that they are bestowing the blessings of their holiday upon me. When I say “Merry Christmas” to someone, I’m not imposing my religion upon them, I’m simply bestowing the blessings of my holiday and my belief upon them.

    I think that’s a better way of creating cross-belief friendliness than the boring, vanilla, and basically empty-hearted sound of “Happy Holidays”.

    That’s just my opinion, though.

  2. Gxeremio says:

    I love the term “Merry Christmas” too. Got nothing against it (except when it’s used as a weapon in a foolish attempt to offend, as in the letter to the editor the other day that ended “Merry CHRISTmas”. I use “Merry Christmas” all the time when appropriate. But I don’t think “Happy Holidays” means the end of civilization. Sometimes it’s the more polite thing to say.

  3. Phil C. says:

    I guess it all depends on who you’re talking to.

    As I said, I’m just extending the blessings of my beliefs to others, no harm no foul.

    I have had someone get slightly offended, until I explained my reasoning for saying that, and they thought that was an awful nice thing of me to do (mighty Christian of me, you could say, lol).

    Ah well, live and let live or die.

  4. finnegan says:

    Never heard of Eid before.

    I was just thinking today about how the word “holiday” literally means “holy day”. I often wonder if words like “holy” or “sacred” have lost much meaning in the U.S., especially during this consumer season.

  5. Kyle says:

    If only the self-righteous southern “christians” had your understanding. To me, when I say “merry Christmas” to folks, its with a tolerant understanding that I’m wishing them well (no matter their religion). Just like I enjoy my jewish friends wishing me Happy Haunahkah. But that usually is ruined by the evangelicals who arrogantly think that x-mas is solely “their holiday.”

  6. Kyle says:

    I truly would love it if people in this world understood two things:
    1) The last week of December is an important time for ALL religions. Although Christianity has stolen this date from older religions, please understand that other belief systems respect this time also. (unfortunately the christians are so full of themselves that they cannot understand this concept.)

    2) What a wonderful world this would be if we only practiced the christmas spirit year around. (Of course that would mean putting the bush administration in jail……were they belong).

  7. finnegan says:


    When you make hateful-sounding generalizations such as, “the christians are so full of themselves that they cannot understand this concept,” how are you any less bigoted or narrow-minded than the people you would call narrow-minded bigots?

    Here’s my generalization of the entire human race: we tend to categorize diverse groups of people into a few broad categories and demonize them. Generalizing helps us simplify a complex world, but it gives us a false sense of understanding.

    You seem to have singled out Evangelicals, but the managing editor at the DNR is a Catholic. Have you ever read the stuff he’s written about religion? And people like Jim Wallis are liberal open-minded Evangelicals. So your generalizations don’t really hold true.

    Please be more open-minded when talking about people who subscribe to ideologies you disagree with.

  8. Kyle says:

    Thanks for your comment (and I mean that sincerely). The problem is that I have tried to be more open minded. I understand that generalizations don’t pertain to all, and that ther are exceptions, but my comments were specifically meant to be just that, generalizations (as was yours in your second paragraph).

    Just to give you a little of my background…..I was validictorian of my high school and undergraduate college. As such, I was placed in an honors program that discussed these issues ad nauseum. We had jews, catholics, hindus and pagans in this class (yes, even non-christians can be honor students.) And we often talked (without animosity) at length about idealogy and different belief systems as we tried to learn about each other.

    Then I moved to the south……people started telling me that I was doomed to hell for not believing them, they did not like the fact that I thought missionary work was pretentious, I even had people tell me, in my place of business, that they would noy come back unless I got on my knees and accepted JC as my Savior that very moment (the truth!!)

    With all the things wrong with the world, I get very angry at those that don’t get the big picture. I was brought up that my belief is my belief, and your belief is your belief. That is tolerance, I’m sorry but I just haven’t had that intellegent, tolerant, christ-like expereince here in HB.

    I liken it to the right-wing racists who arrogantly bad mouth immigrants, in an act of ethnocentric supremacy, before seeing your excellent documentary. You know the cliche…..minds are like parachutes…….

  9. Seth says:

    so now you’re talking trash on the south?

  10. Seth says:

    (it’s ok, we’re used to it)

  11. Gxeremio says:

    Hey, I did a little research on the term “Happy Holidays” that you might find interesting.

    Thanks, Phil, for inspiring me to dig deeper on that one!

  12. Sam Hottinger says:

    It doesn’t matter where you live, there will always be jerks. I lived in several areas of the country, but have never seen racism, at the levels that I saw in Northern Michigan. This doesn’t mean that everyone in Michigan is racist, juts that some people in Michigan are jerks. Same as here or anywhere else. Being open minded means that you understand that other people have different points of view. Some are more adamant in these views. You don’t have to accept these views as right or wrong but you do need to realize that they have a right to those views. If you are open mined you wouldn’t be ranting about these people after the fact. Just accept the fact that they feel differently and move on. It makes life a lot more pleasant. After all, the fact that you are still bitter after the fact doesn’t effect any of these “christians” at all. They are still perfectly happy in the belief that they are going to heaven and you are going to hell. You might as well enjoy yourself now while you still can.

  13. Sam Hottinger says:

    Sorry about the misspellings. My keyboard is sticking.

  14. Annie Hololob says:

    I help manage a retail establishment. Have done so for the last 7 years, up North, here in the South and on the West Coast. From November 1st through January 15th I hear every variation on Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Happy Holidays/Kwanzaa/Solstice/insert made up holiday and watched as people get PISSED OFF if when I don’t return the same sentiment.

    Now, I don’t care who you are or what you celebrate, all I see is a crowd of people who will purchase any crap that you hand them in order to satisfy whatever need to consume in the ‘holiday season’. Color me bitter and jaded. This time of year is about dropping a little cash, no matter how you greet people or say your prayers. I’m sticking to my usual, “HAVE A NICE DAY!”

  15. Dave Briggman says:

    Annie, you obviously had a bad day after I left your store this morning. :-)

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