Monday, January 07, 2008

Cows and Christmas Trees
December 20, 2007

Tomorrow is the second Eid, the second of the two main holidays in Islam. This is the holiday where Muslims sacrifice a cow (or goat) in recognitions of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ismael. (For more details on the holiday you can see my blog from last year: http://kboekhoff.blogspot.com/2007/01/fulbright-blog-place-dhaka-date-january.html) Christmas, the main Christian holiday, is also only a couple of days away.

I was sitting in my friend Borhan's cafe, Cofi 11, tonight talking to him. Borhan is a religious Muslim (he has a beard and doesn't drink alcohol) and we were sitting next to a Christmas tree with Christmas carols playing in the background. It was all a very surreal experience. I asked him about the tree and he told me that over half of his staff were Christian and that they found the tree.

We then got into a light-hearted philosophical discussion about cows and Christmas trees and about how as symbols they are actually amazingly similar:

1) they start out alive and then we kill them
2) they are both decorated (the cows wear paper necklaces)
3) they symbolize rebirth - Abraham got Ismael back and the tree was originally a pagan symbol of rebirth
4) they are the primary symbol of the major religious holiday of their respective religions

So who says Muslims and Christians are so different? :)

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