Can you imagine treating Christmas day like Labor Day? Just another normal holiday, a nice day off, but nothing special? Well....that is indeed how most of the world views Christmas. In Tanzania, Christmas day and Boxing Day (Dec. 26) are public holidays, but the majority of Tanzanians don't celebrate it--unless they are Christians.
I was thinking about this today since yesterday and today, most of this city is in celebration. Yesterday marked the end of the most significant Month of the year for many of our friends--a month of fasting every day from dawn till dusk. The holiday at the of the month comes with the sighting of the new moon (by someone in Saudi Arabia, I think), so we never know ahead of time what will be the exact date. However, yesterday morning at day break, I could hear the calling from mosques all over the city: The Holiday had begun.
For many of our friends and students, and over 1 billion of the world's population, yesterday and today are as significant as our Christmas. Feasting, gift giving, and warm family time mark these days. But for our family, we are just enjoying having the days off!
Much more could be discussed, but this is not the place. But for those of you with friends who are celebrating right now, make sure you wish them a Happy Holiday, and take this great opportunity to enter deeper levels of discussion with them.