Even though I don’t celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or any other religious celebration, outside my own faith, I still love this time of the year! I enjoy watching the holiday light shows close to my home and love seasonal treats, like eggnog, around the holidays.
While I may not celebrate any of the holidays close to this time of year, I still like to stay connected with everyone through interfaith-unity. I practice interfaith-unity by happily including myself in the joy of my fellow neighbors, classmates, and friends.
To incorporate interfaith-unity in my own personal life, I’ve always liked to have certain conversations with my friends. Whenever the holidays came near, I always asked my friends about their plans. Through this, I was able to get to learn more about their different traditions and customs. One year, my Jewish friend brought potato latkes for all of us to taste and told me about the significance it had in her celebrations. I was very pleased to learn more about her background.
Similarly, whenever my Islamic celebrations, like Ramadan or Eid rolled around, my friends would also return the same gesture and ask about my own customs and rituals for celebrating. These conversations with my friends created a sense of interfaith-unity among us. Even though we came from different beliefs, we still found a way to connect through sharing our own celebrations.
Another way I’ve always incorporated interfaith-unity in my own life is through reaching out to neighbors. During the holidays, my parents would buy a couple of packages filled with treats for our neighbors. With these packages, we would also include a short note with a holiday greeting. My family would then ask me to go knock on everyone’s doors and give all of these packages to our neighbors. Not only was this a great way to involve ourselves in the spirit of the holidays, but it also gave us an excuse to get to know our neighbors better.
Another way of practicing interfaith-unity is by giving back to the community. During this time of year, there are always many clothing and food drives to participate in for the less fortunate. You can donate to shelters and volunteer to help others with your services. While we all come from different beliefs, it’s always good to come together for a great cause during the holidays and spread cheer.
As an American Muslim teen, I hope you all can also practice interfaith-unity. I wish you all happy holidays! May everyone have a very happy, healthy and joyful holiday season!