We just passed one of the biggest holiday seasons, including Christmas, Eid, Thanksgiving and New years. I know people are gearing up for valentine’s day (Yuck) but that is a post for another day.
And I have made some observations. Now, I have seen Christmas in the US and I have seen what a huge deal it is from families, retail stores and friends point of view but nothing compares to the shock I got in Jordan.
I guess, it’s the first time in years that I have seen how much Christmas has impacted Jordan. I haven’t really been here around Christmas time since my early childhood but now as an adult I see it in a different light or maybe it’s more mainstreamed now.
I remember some of my Moms friends having trees, and seeing trees around town..but nothing like I see now. I also remember attending a christmas bazaar that was also attended by the American Ambassadors wife! Yes, the things you remember. I don’t remember shops having signs like they do now or ads…but then again…there weren’t malls in Jordan back then. (Yes, I feel old.)
I have never seen so many stores that put up decorations, sales, gift ideas and all kinds of promotions during this time. Jordan is changing and becoming a more diverse country and catering to that diversity which is cool…but on the flip side, why don’t they make this big of deal about Eid, Ramadan and other Islamic holidays? Or maybe I’m too desensitized to the Islamic Celebrations that I don’t notice. I don’t believe that is the case, though.
Here is why: This past Ramadan, I got to spend some time in Jerusalem during Ramadan, actually, the last couple of days of Ramadan and what I saw was amazing. Decorations all around the city for Ramadan, people being generous and just a great feel for Ramadan in the Holy Land. Homes around Al-Aqsa open to people praying to wash up, cool down and even offering hot tea. It was magical but then I come back to Jordan and it’s a completely different vibe. It just feels flat here, no excitement, no enjoyment just obligations.
So, when Christmas came around. I noticed that a lot of local businesses had ads up, were asking people to come decorate their x-mas trees with them. Sent out Christmas greetings but these same businesses didn’t bother for Eid. Now, they could be Non-Muslims but some are….which doesn’t make sense to me. Why do we so willingly celebrate other people’s holidays but forget our own? Okay, maybe we can argue that people are secular Muslims but then why would they wish people a Merry Xmas and forget to wish a Happy Eid to other people.
In the end, I think times have changed and Allah knows what the world will be like when I have my own children. I just hope that I can guide them to the best path. InshAllah.
Now, for people who want to complain. I am a Muslim from a Catholic mother and a Muslim father. I wish my mother Merry Christmas every year and yes, I buy her a gift. (I got her something super cute this year, btw!) Why? because is my mother and as Muslim I am taught to respect and love my parents regardless of their religion.