Celebrating Non-Muslim Holidays
The major holidays for Muslims are based on fundamental religious practices: fasting and pilgrimage. The two Eids hold a special importance to Muslims as part of their religious way of life.
Many Muslims choose not to participate in any other celebrations, whether religious or cultural, if they are not part of this Islamic tradition. Other Muslims vary in their participation, particularly in what are considered to be secular national or cultural celebrations.
Some holidays that are now considered secular originally had religious foundations. Halloween and Valentine's Day, for example, are considered secular by many but are largely frowned upon by Muslims because of their religious origins.
Some Muslims choose to participate in celebrations with their local community as long as it does not compromise their own beliefs. A national independence day festival, an annual charitable fundraiser, or a Mother's Day breakfast are all examples of events that Muslims may or may not be a part of. Muslim families generally make such decisions on their own, based on their own interpretation of Islamic guidance.
While Muslims are advised to show compassion and respect for other faith communities, they should also distinguish themselves and not imitate others. Muslims are advised to think about what they do and the reasons for it. The Qur'an strongly chastises people who blindly follow the ways of their ancestors simply because of tradition (Qur'an 5:104).
During religious holidays of other faiths, many Muslims strive to be cordial without actively participating in the religious aspects of the event. For example, a Muslim might visit Christian friends or family members during the Christmas season but not attend church services. Gifts may be exchanged at other times of year, as a gesture of friendship unrelated to any religious holiday.
In general, Muslims are respectful of all people and merely try to avoid the religious aspects of holidays other than their own. Participation, if any, is intended to strengthen family and community bonds. Muslims strive to forge kind relationships with neighbors and friends of any faith, while being mindful and proud of their own unique traditions.