Iraqis Include Christmas As Religious Holiday!
The following is a translation from Iraq’s news paper Alamashriq on December 18, 2007 by Iraqi-American Haider Ajina:
Iraqi Government extends Religious Holidays to Include Christmas.
The Iraqi Government announced, yesterday Monday, the extension of the religious holiday (for all Government offices) to celebrate Eid Al-Adha (Three day Muslim Religious Holiday at the end of the Pilgrimage to Mecca) one extra day to Include celebrating the Birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas day. The Iraqi national press office released this announcement which declared December 25th a national holiday in Iraq for all government offices (national and provincial). The government in its press release mentions that this allows our citizens to celebrate Eid Al-Adha and the birth of the messiah (peace be upon him).
Haider Ajina comments,
While I was growing up in Iraq, in the sixties and seventies, Christmas (or Celebration of Birth of the Messiah as it’s called by Arab Christians) was acknowledged and celebrated but it was never a national holiday. Christians had the day off with pay and Christian children did not have to come to school on Christmas. Even children from Mixed marriages (Christian and Muslim parents) could stay out of school if they wanted, it was an excused holiday.
I am pleased and surprised to see the government declaring it a national holiday. This way almost all Iraqis can celebrate their religious holidays together. This is another positive change and one of many steps towards national unity. Eid and Christmas celebrations will be held under substantially improved circumstances from last year.
Iraqis have plenty to celebrate as this year comes to an end. Thanks to our men and women who have served and are still serving in Iraq. The future of Iraq is looking very bright and hopeful, with much hard work to rebuild and ground this new democracy and rule of law, still ahead.