The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Observing the season in other faith traditions

A lot of students on campus love to spend this time of year getting ready for their various Christmas celebrations. They put up Christmas lights, miniature trees in their dorms and play Christmas songs. However, there are many students on campus who do not celebrate Christmas and participate in other traditions around this time of year.

Jewish Student Union member Stephen Neiger, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said he is used to all of the Christmas celebrations around this time of year.

Hanukkah begins on Dec. 15 this year and Neiger said he plans to spend the eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights with his family lighting candles at sundown.

"We always either have a party or go to a party to celebrate," he said.

Because the dates of the celebration change every year, Neiger said he was not always able to celebrate at home with his family. He went to a private high school away from home and missed the first few days of Hanukkah one year.

"The dorm parents allowed me to light candles at their home with a few other Jewish students, which was really nice of them," Neiger said.

Reema Ahmad, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences and president of the Arab Student Association, has a Muslim parent and a Christian parent, so she is used to some of the celebrations of Christmas.

"My mom is Christian and we usually go visit my grandmother on Christmas," Ahmad said. "But we don't personally celebrate Christmas."

Ahmad said her family does not acknowledge the holiday because it is a religious holiday, even if many other people celebrate the unreligious aspects of the holiday.

"Typically people who celebrate Christmas come from a Christian background, even if they don't say they are Christian," she said.

Naba Mallick, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences, is a Muslim who does not celebrate Christmas. However, she said she often goes traveling with her family because everyone gets time off from work and school. Otherwise, it is a good time to just relax, go shopping and spend time with family, she said.

However, Mallick said she doesn't try to avoid the Christmas celebrations. She sees the day as not just a religious holiday, but part of the American culture.

"If I'm invited by a friend to a Christmas party, I don't see a point not to go," she said.

Mallick said it can be fun to engage in the holiday spirit and it is a nice time of year. She doesn't see a reason to try to stay out of it.

On Christmas Day itself, Neiger said he always goes to the movies with his friends to enjoy the empty theaters. Otherwise, his family does not do anything specific on that day.

"It is a lot of fun to go with no one around," he said.

Mallick, however, said she doesn't do anything specific on Christmas itself and sees Dec. 25 as just another other day of the month.

According to Ahmad, she has attended a convention held by the Islamic Circle of North America every year around this time with her family since she was a little girl.

She said it is nice to occupy their time when a lot of people are celebrating Christmas.

"You can feel left out because everyone is busy with the holiday, so it is better to have something to do," Ahmad said.

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