l-3id noel (Christmas Holiday)

The Christmas season in Morocco is a strange time. I say strange because Christmas really is just another day for Muslims here. I say strange because I didn’t spend it with my parents. I say strange because I traveled more than usual.

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And yet… everyone I’ve run into in my site knows about Christmas and its significance to Christians. This does stand to reason: Jesus, in Islam, is recognized as a prophet, while in Christianity he is the son of God. In fact, Muslims and Christians believe in the same god, they just worship him differently.

Other than religious purposes, of course, Christmas is significant in American for cultural purposes. Perhaps that is why my host family didn’t have any questions when I told them I was celebrating l-3id noel with volunteers in another city. The following weekend – the actual Christmas weekend – they didn’t ask any questions when I said I was celebrating again in another city with other volunteers.

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And what a pair of Christmases it was! The first weekend was full of cookies, pasta, Christmas music, ornament drawing, and tree decorating (see photo above). The ten of us did a white elephant gift exchange; I got a French press! Christmas weekend was quieter – I and three others sat around, watching movies and TV shows, eating far too many knock-off Oreos, and singing pop song karaoke.

While Christmas in Morocco can’t quite compare to Christmas in America, it was comforting spending it with other Americans who were in the same situation as me. Here’s to the upcoming New Year!

Author: Matt Rogers

Traveler, musician, documentary filmmaker, trying to do some good. ~Insta/Twitter/Vimeo: mattmigration~

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