In The Armchair

Widespread Celebration of Islamic Festivals?

Posted in India by Armchair Guy on May 20, 2009

Vikram asked an interesting question: people of all religions in India seem to celebrate Hindu festivals like Diwali and Holi, and Christian festivals like Christmas.  Why then don’t people generally celebrate Muslim festivals like Eid? The article had some great theories in the comments.  Here are some interesting points that I agree with, I just wanted to note them down:

  1. Muslim festivals are not as commercial as Christian and Hindu festivals, which induce shopping seasons.  So there’s a lot more marketing for Hindu and Christian festivals.
  2. Muslim festivals lack the element of outward show (which festivals such as Diwali, Holi, Christmas have), which makes it harder to “celebrate” them.
  3. Indians study in Christian missionary schools a lot, so Christian festivals have become familiar.
  4. Hindus are mindful of historical injustices committed against them by Muslims.
  5. Why not ask the same question about Buddhist (and Sikh, though I think they’re a little more mainstream) festivals?
  6. (In a post by a Muslim) A form of exclusivity applies; Muslims are interested in celebrating their festivals only with those who believe in Allah the creator and Mohammed as a prophet.
  7. We interact mostly in school, college, the workplace; there are very few Muslim women in those arenas, so it’s harder to learn about Muslim festivals.
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2 Responses

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  1. Kaffir said, on July 27, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    Muslim festivals are not as commercial as Christian and Hindu festivals, which induce shopping seasons. So there’s a lot more marketing for Hindu and Christian festivals.
    =

    Not quite true. My uncle had a shop in Chandni Chowk area, and Muslims came to his shop to buy new stuff during festival time. And food shops do a brisk business during Ramadan, as Muslims keeping fast, break it after sundown. Maybe it has to do with (non)visibility of such commercial activity?

  2. Armchair Guy said, on July 27, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    Kaffir:

    Interesting, I had no real knowledge one way or another about commercial activity during Muslim festivals. It must be a case of visibility as you say. In Calcutta, where I lived, there are far fewer Christians than Muslims, but every shopping center is decked out for Christmas — and I’m including lower economic class kaccha shops as well. But I simply don’t remember any outward evidence of Muslim festivals. Could just be me, or maybe Muslims are less showy about it.


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