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Holidays & Their Origins

The Prophet(SAWS) said, “Do not praise me excessively as the Christians did ‘Isa bin Maryam. I am only His servant; so call me [instead] the slave of Allah, and His Messenger,”
The Prophet(SAWS) forbade Muslims from celebrating the holidays of the Christians, Jews and other non-Muslims, also in congratulating them on such days. Ibn Taymiyah has said; “Participating with them in their festivals, wholly or partially, is synonymous with participating with them in the unbelief, wholly or partially.”
We Muslims have two specified holidays, Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha along with the celebrations of weddings and Aqiqa’s (After the child is born not before). These are very festive times and it is recommended that we do celebrate them.
Living in a non-Muslim majority community we run into cultural holidays and celebrations and at times fall into participating in them because they are not “religious” ones. Being a Muslim means servant to Allah and dedicating our lives to worshipping Him. Staying away from the doubtful and unknown behaviors that have been established outside of the Qur’an and Sunnah will help us to better our Faith and devotion. The Prophet(SAWS) said, 'Whoever introduces something into this matter of ours that does not belong to it shall have that action rejected.' [Bukhari and Muslim].
Some Muslims even celebrate the Prophet’s(SAWS) birthday. Muslim scholars have ruled that this is contradictory to the orders and Sunnah of the Prophet(SAWS) himself, as mentioned in the above hadith. The Companions(RAA) loved him more than anyone and were closest to him, and none of them celebrated it. So likewise we should not celebrate our own birthdays.
We, as Muslims, do not do anything - or at least try not to do anything except for the pleasure of Allah. Therefore, that is why everything can be a good deed, even using the bathroom. So, as celebrating one's birthday would be done with the Niyah to please Allah by showing gratitude, etc., we would have to weigh this act according to the conditions by which deeds are accepted: a) A Niyah (intention) with Ikhlaas (sincerity) and b) that deed is done in accordance with the Qur'an and authentic Sunnah. Once we do this, we find that celebrating birthdays cannot be done as it does not fall within what we know of the Sunnah. Also, the Hadith about not over praising the Prophet (SAWS) as the Christians do the son of Mary (AS) is very significant here also.
Forgive me for any errors that I may have made and may Allah(SWT) accept all our good deeds and good intentions backed by knowledge....Ameen

* Bear in mind this is a brief paper I composed for my childs 2cd grade class, so please feel free to do your own research, I encourage it always.

BIRTHDAYS:This celebration originated with the ancient Greeks, who worshipped the moon and honey goddess, Aramtus. Every month on the 6th she would commemorate her birthday by offering round (like the moon) honey cakes on an alter and light candles on them to give good fortune for the rest of the year.

New Years Eve:This is the celebration of the new solar year, [Muslims follow the Lunar].

Presidents Day:This commemorates the birthdays of two US Presidents namely Washington and Lincoln. Maybe they’ve added some?

Saint Valentine’s Day:This originated with the ancient Roman feast of Lupercalis (Feb 15), in which young Roman men and women drew partners for the coming year by lottery. This festival gradually became associated with the feast day (Feb.14) of two Roman martyrs, both named St. Valentine, who lived in the 3rd. century.

Easter:There are two different accounts of Easter: Pre-Christian tells that it comes from Easter, a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility, to whom the month of April was dedicated. Traditions that survived were the rabbit, a symbol of fertility, and coloring eggs, represents the sunlight of spring. Christians celebrate Easter as the resurrection of Jesus(ASWS).

4th of July:This is the independence of the US from England.

Halloween:This precedes the Christians feast of Hallowmas, All hallows, or All Saint’s Day. The observances connected with Halloween are thought to have originated among the ancient Druids, who believed that on that evening, Saman, the lord of the dead, called forth hosts of evil spirits. The Druid customarily lit great fires on Halloween, apparently to ward off all these spirits. The ancient Celts believed that the spirits of the dead revisited their earthly homes on that evening. After the Romans conquered Britain, they added to Halloween features of the Roman harvest festival held on Nov. 1st in honor of Pomona, goddess of the fruits of trees. The concept of witches and ghosts is still common, and playing fruit games such as bobbing for apples. Also the hollowed out pumpkins carved to resemble grotesque faces and lit by candles, placed inside, signifies the fires that were lit to keep the dead spirits away.

Thanksgiving Day:The celebration of the New Englanders harvesting with the Native Americans. The actual origin, is probably the harvest festivals that are traditional in may parts of the world.

Christmas:This is to celebrate the birth of Jesus(ASWS). However they have incorporated pagan customs, use of trees, derived from the so-called paradise tree, symbolizing Eden. Santa Claus comes from the Dutch who celebrated St. Nicholas’ Eve, when gifts were given to children.

Mothers & Fathers Day:Once a year people set aside to pay tribute to their parents. *Love for your parents should be everyday, not just once a year!

NOTE* Notice how many of these holidays involve goddess’s? and respect for parents should be shown everyday, not on one particular day of the year.