Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Idul Fitri and Christmas have similar substances

Al Makin , Heidelberg, Montreal | Tue, 09/30/2008 10:19 AM | Opinion and editorial The Jakarta Post

Idul Fitri and Christmas bear a substantial similarity to each other: their human side. It is true -- from a theological perspective -- that both celebrations have to do with a man's business with his God. Yet, in real life, the two involve more a man's business with other men than man's business with his God.

During the days prior to Idul Fitri, Indonesian Muslims are always eager to go back to their home towns (mudik) to spend their holidays with their relatives and close friends. Unfortunately, competition is stiff for the already incredibly steeply priced bus, train, airplane, and boat tickets.

Many, alternatively, decide to mudik with their motorcycles, riding from one end of the long island of Java to the other, or points in between. The same pattern occurs during the Christmas holidays in both Germany and Canada, as reflected in the soaring price of airplane tickets. Christmas is a human holiday. So is Idul Fitri.

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The writer is a lecturer at the State Islamic University Sunan Kalijaga Yogyakarta. He can be reached at


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