Many non-Christian South Asian Americans, including Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Sikhs, and others, say they get caught up in the Christmas spirit and incorporate their own cultural traditions. Mubarak Christmas
With no more distant family close by nor strict help to join in, and coming up short on the vivid processions that would flood India’s roads on significant occasions like Diwali and Holi, the Hazratis have tracked down local area there on Christmas Day — a large number of years.
“That is practically similar to our more distant family,” Annabel Hazrati, 20, said.
As of 2019, up to 93% of Americans reported celebrating Mubarak Christmas, despite the fact that 69% of Americans identify as Christians. However, compared to a decade ago, only 71% of respondents claim that the holiday has religious significance for them. This is a drop of more than 10 percentage points.
South Asian Americans of other faiths are finding ways to customize the holiday in an America that celebrates both a religious and secular Christmas.
According to Khyati Joshi, a Fairleigh Dickinson University professor who studies the intersections of immigration, religion, and race in the United States, “people get to experience family and joy and happiness more times if they are celebrating Diwali and Mubarak Christmas.”
For non-Christian South Asian Americans, adopting Christmas traditions can be an act of identity and immersion, but Joshi said it doesn’t have to mean “assimilation in the traditional sense.”
She stated, “People get to experience family, happiness, and joy more times if they are celebrating Diwali and Christmas.” That doesn’t necessarily mean that their identity has changed.”
The Hazrati family didn’t always celebrate Christmas. In order to preserve the magic for her, they would even take turns frantically moving their Elf on the Shelf overnight.
Hazrati exclaims with a grin, “We took it really seriously.”
Other South Asian Americans redefine Christmas in the same way that many non-Christian Americans do—with gifts, good food, and cozy pajamas at home—much like the Hazrati family views the holiday as an opportunity to embrace new traditions and connect with their own religious community.
Even though Iqbal’s home had festive decorations, her family didn’t celebrate Christmas because it wasn’t part of their religious traditions. However, when her younger cousins started school, her family realized how ostracizing it can be for kids who don’t celebrate this time of year.
Joshi stated, “When we’re talking about students in grades K-12, [celebrating Christmas] is also a way to allow kids to fit in. That doesn’t mean that they are giving up their holidays, religion, or culture.
Her family decided to exchange gifts in December after realizing the adverse effects of not celebrating Christmas on the children, and Iqbal went “all-out” with the decorations.
She stated, “I saw their eyes light up while opening their presents, and all the cousins got to make Christmas lists for the first time.” Just a family celebration with exciting surprises was all I had ever wanted.
The topping of masala: wishing one another “Christmas Mubarak,” which translates to “Blessed Christmas,” to ring in the holiday season.
When it came to celebrations, the most important thing for Aiman Dewji, a mother of four daughters in Sanford, Florida, was to instill a sense of pride in Islamic customs in her children, who were the only Muslim girls wearing hijabs in their elementary school.
However, for her Indian American children, building gingerbread houses at school and driving to see the Christmas lights in the neighborhood were always signs of “happiness and celebration.”
Dewji stated, “I realized that we were a mixed culture.” Additionally, you cannot completely exclude American culture.
Dewji decided to “put a twist on” the aspects of Christmas that her children loved, such as the sparkling lights, festive baking, and toys, for Islamic holidays like Ramadan rather than avoiding new traditions or celebrating a secularized Christmas in her home.
As a result, Dewji created Khadija on the Shelf, a Muslim take on the traditional Elf on the Shelf doll that wears a hijab. Khadija only appears during Ramadan, just like the well-known elf that vanished. She comes out with 30 days of Islamic lessons and games, like scavenger hunts for sweet treats to enjoy after breaking their fast at sunset or props to act out Islamic stories. World News Entertainment