One contributor unveils the double standard within Christmas Break.
As the United States is growing larger and larger, many people would believe that this influx of diversity would bring to a lot of change within the educational systems to meet the needs of all its students. Every year, many students are excited when Christmas rolls around and they have the opportunity to have a few days set aside to really enjoy their religious holiday. But have you ever thought about what students of other faiths have to do when their religious day of observance comes around?
Take it from someone who has dealt with it every single year: It hardly feels like celebrating is worth it at all. As an American- Muslim, celebrating my religious holiday, Eid, always comes with mixed feelings. Eid occurs twice a year, and the date of the day of observance is determined by the lunar calendar. Having it fall in the summer months is the best because I do not have worry about making any kind of accommodation to take a day off.
If the religious day falls during the school year, a lot of different problems arise. First, having to determine if being absent from one day of class is worth it. Sometimes, classes offer extra credit for perfect attendance or deduct points for being absent, and missing one day of class would automatically ruin my chances. Secondly, having to find a way to get reliable notes from someone regarding the information that was gone over is next to impossible. Being a very avid note-taker, I must write everything that comes out of the professor’s mouth, so finding someone with the same penchant is nearly impossible. Lastly, having to notify your teacher two weeks ahead of time to take the day off and explain why can always be an awkward first impression on the professor. But what is harder is gaining the courage to go speak to my professor face to face and hope the professor provides leniency to my situation.
Eid is not something I look forward to during the school year. It is just another obstacle added to my list of things to overcome in a given semester and decide if the pros outweigh the cons to attend. A typical Eid during the school year is waking up early and going to the Mosque for our Eid prayer and coming home immediately to do homework and study for everything I might have missed in class. The night would be reserved for any other festivities that were held for Eid on the given day. Is this how Christians spend Christmas, or how the Jewish spend Hanukkah? Probably not. Most have two weeks off from school to spend time before and after their religious day with friends and families. Muslims? We don’t even get a day. This is a problem that should be addressed as the Muslim population in America grows.