By Shahina Bashir
Some years back I was invited to a friend’s Christmas party. She went all out with decking the halls, putting up a beautifully decorated Christmas tree with lots of intricately wrapped presents under it, music, and of course lots of food. The guests who attended brought in their own additions to the growing collection of dishes laid out on an elaborately decorated dining table. And yes, they also came with gifts to put under the tree.
So, you might be thinking, what’s unusual about a Christmas party? Isn’t that what Christians do to celebrate the much anticipated holiday of the year? Well, of course it is not unusual, but it is when the party is thrown by Muslims for Muslims. I was unaware that the gathering was not just simply a get together for friends who had a day off but that it was indeed to celebrate the Christmas holiday. They all were in agreement that there was nothing religious about it but only that they are partaking in a cultural tradition.
But is Christmas a cultural tradition or a religious observation? I am sure all Christians will agree that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior. It is true that all over the world more and more non-Christians are adopting this holiday as their own. I was quite surprised to learn that many Muslims in Bangladesh are actually putting up Christmas trees (even if fake ones) in their houses and exchanging gifts with each other.