This is how we do it

For some religions, holiday season is about more than Christmas

It’s that time of the year, where Halloween decorations are quickly replaced with Christmas trees and Thanksgiving becomes a distant memory. Families eagerly gather to celebrate the holiday season, and ’tis the season to be jolly, regardless of what religion you follow. Though everyone has different beliefs, there’s no denying the joy that comes with this time of year.

Senior Amina Ali doesn’t celebrate Christmas but is open to learning more about the holiday. As a proud Muslim, her version of Christmas is Eid, which she celebrates twice a year.

“I like the Christmas vibe,” Ali said. “I don’t celebrate it, but I’m happy to see others who [are] excited about it.”

Despite not having a religious upbringing, junior Erica To still celebrates Christmas with her family.

“I’m not a super religious person, but ultimately I’m identified as Buddhist,” she said. The only twist to her Christmas celebration is her family’s trip to the Buddhist temple.

The Christmas holiday is beloved by people all around the world. In fact, it is so popular even non-Christians celebrate it. According to a new Pew Research Center survey, 8 out of 10 non-Christians in the U.S. celebrate Christmas, testifying the holiday’s wide acceptance, even with its religious meaning.

Humanities teacher Rebecca Williams celebrates Christmas with her family in California.

“My church has a Swedish heritage and it is tradition to have a sunrise service on Christmas called Julotta, so we all set up super early for church and they come back and have a big breakfast before opening gifts.”

Hanukkah and Kwanzaa

While Christmas is the day set aside for Christians to celebrate the birth of their savior, other religions practice their own version of the holiday based on their faith. Unlike Williams, who grew up Catholic, Librarian Lee Micklin was raised with different a perspective on the celebration of Christmas. Micklin and her family are Jewish. Though they love the idea of Christmas decorations, they don’t celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

“I do decorate for the season, and I truly respect the meaning of the holiday even if it’s not a part of my religion,” Micklin said.

Hanukkah is how the Jewish celebrate the holiday season. The weeklong festival runs from Dec. 6-14 and is believed to be a celebration of triumph of the light over darkness, purity over adulteration, and spirituality over materiality.

African-Americans and people of African descent have a celebration that is similar to Hanukkah in a sense that both are a weeklong and center around principles deemed important to the respective faith.

Kwanzaa begins the day after Christmas and ends on New Years Day. For each day there are candles to represent a set of principles: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

Junior Fatima Krubally transitioned into participating in both Kwanzaa and Christmas for the first time last year. Prior to that, her family only celebrated Christmas.

My dad is from Gambia and my mother is from Seattle, so we thought it was important to practice both cultures,” said Krubally. She learned about the festivities through Lem’s Life Enrichment Bookstore, where they gave lessons to anyone who wanted to learn the principles.

“It felt good to learn about where I came from,” said Krubally.

Traditionally, Kwanzaa has been stereotyped as families of African descent dressed in cultural wear, praying and lighting candles, but not for Krubally.

“We dress regular and we only light candles at an event we go to,” she said.

No matter what religion you practice, the holiday season tends to bring out the joy in everyone.