December: Celebrations and Dilemmas, 2002

December 10, 2002

Source: The Richmond Times-Dispatch

On December 10, 2002 The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that "seven-year-old Alana Amrose stood entranced, looking at the fruits, animals, faces, symbols and writing of the Hindu calendar - a Nakara Chaturdasi. She glowed with excitement at the Children's Museum of Richmond's 'Our Community, One World in Celebration' exhibit featuring six miniature houses decorated with symbols of holidays observed around the end or beginning of the year. The girl's first stop last week was the Diwali display, focusing on the Hindu Festival of Lights. Amrose, a teacher, recalled an incident when she wished 'Merry Christmas' to one of her students who is a Muslim. The student turned around and said: 'We don't celebrate Christmas.' Amrose reacted. 'Of course. I know that,' she said, hitting her forehead gently as if saying to herself, 'What am I thinking?' Ramadan falls in the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, Nov. 6 on the western calendar. The holiday begins with the sighting of the new moon when Muslims start to fast every day for a month from sunrise to sunset. They abstain from food, drink, smoking, sex and other worldly activities.   Muslims fast to purify their bodies and give thanks to Allah (God) for revealing the Quran to the prophet Muhammad. Eid al-Fitr signals the end of Ramadan, and Muslims break the fast, bathe and put on new clothes. An areawide celebration with prayers ending the fast was held Friday."