Q&A with chemistry teacher, Sarah Safe: Islamic culture and holidays

Dani Gonzalez, Editorial and Opinion Editor

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Q: What holidays do [Muslims] celebrate?
A: We have two main holidays. I can’t speak for other denominations as they might have other holidays they celebrate, but I believe Muslims across the board celebrate two main holidays: Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha. Our holidays go upon the lunar calendar. Every year, it’s at a different time of year. This year, I believe Eid Al-Fitr comes right at the beginning of Ramadan earlier in the summer, so it’s getting earlier and earlier in the summer. I actually took a day off for Eid Al-Adha. It was the Friday after Labor Day so I took off and went to the Mosque with my family.
Q: What do you do during the holidays?
A: Eid Al-Fitr comes at the end of Ramadan, which a holiday where we fast for 30 days. Eid Al-Fitr is a celebration of being able to eat again. Ramadan is not necessary just about food, it’s also a spiritual awakening. We pray more and fasting is to take away all desires to build ourselves up spiritually.
So Eid Al-Fitr usually has food involved and a lot of sweets. There is prayer at eh mosque. After the prayer, it is up to the family and the culture on what to do after that.
Eid Al-Adha is a celebration after the pilgrimage. Not everyone goes to pilgrimed every year because it is very expensive. You go down to Mecca in Saudi Arabia and there are a number of things you do for pilgrimage so it lasts several days. For those who go, they celebrate the end of the pilgrimage with and salat, and all of us around the world that didn’t go, we celebrate with that this pilgrimage occurred.
Q: Is there anything that is specific to your family that you feel is different from how other people celebrate those holidays?
A: I think going to brunch is something I’ve seen more and more American Muslims do on Eid. Almost any brunch area in the area we see at least on other Muslim family there. Other than that, when I was a kid we use to make it more of going to my grandparents, opening present and things like that.
Now that I’ve grown up, we still might go to my grandparents and have dessert together but we usually see each other at brunch. It’s just become more separated which is a little sad. It’s just a part of living in the United States because the general society isn’t celebrating with us.

Photo courtesy of Dani Gonzalez

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Q&A with chemistry teacher, Sarah Safe: Islamic culture and holidays