by Lauren Killgrove – Photo Editor
As children, we are taught about other religions and their traditions, but yet Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Rosh Hashanah, Ramadan, and thousands of other religious holidays aren’t as widely recognized outside a classroom. Christmas is the holiday that gets the spotlight.
According to Gallup, a company that makes public polls, 96% of American adults celebrate Christmas. And though that 4% may seem small, people would be surprised at just how many people around them don’t celebrate the holiday.
A person can look all around them and find many people who do not celebrate Christmas. This person could also be unaware at just how many major religious holidays there are. It is unfair and shows ignorance and limited inclusivity when other religious holidays are not as widely recognized as Christmas and other Christian holidays.
On top of the lack of recognition of major religious holidays, it is also concerning as to how unknowledgeable others can be about different religious holidays. There are many misconceptions about many holidays, such as how Hanukkah is the “Jewish Christmas” when it is truly about rededication. The main reason it is recognized is because it is close to Christmas time, hence the “Jewish Christmas.”
What many don’t realize is that Rosh Hashanah is the more important Jewish holiday. The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah is followed by Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Most view Hanukkah as the more important holiday since it is the one that gets more recognition because of its almost simultaneous timing to Christmas. Also, many don’t know what Ramadan, the Islamic holy month where Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, is.
These holidays reflect a major part of a person’s belief system, and an important part of a person’s life. The more we focus on one belief, the more we separate ourselves from learning and connecting to those who believe in different things. When we do this, we are creating a divide between us and our peers, our neighbors. If we continue to neglect other religions, we will only further isolate everyone. Society should become more aware of other religions and traditions so we can all celebrate and understand one another.