TORONTO - In a nation with a rich mix of cultures, Canada’s Christmas season offers an opportunity to share different cultures and traditions between the country’s Muslims and Christians.
“We love Christmas,” Raheel Raza, a Muslim interfaith diversity consultant and author, told CTV Toronto on Sunday, December 11.
“One doesn't have to get into it from a religious perspective, but from a cultural perspective, it's wonderful.”
Since moving from Pakistan, Raza has become a passionate advocate for cultural and religious diversity, embracing several Canadian traditions.
Now, she waits every year’s Christmas to decorate reindeer figurines with menorah antlers, spray-paint dried bagels to use as ornaments on a Christmas tree, or stuff turkeys with Jollof rice.
“When we come to a diverse country like Canada, it becomes very interesting and educational if we are able to respect and participate in each other's traditions,” Raza said.
Her younger daughters-in-law are Christian, and her grandchildren are a mix of Mexican, Pakistani and Canadian origin.
“So we celebrate everything, we definitely take part in each other's traditions. It's enriching.”
Raza has even been nicknamed the “Merry Muslim” by friends and family for her high spirits during the holidays.
“We do a lot of gifting,” she says.
“Sometimes I think we give more gifts at Christmas than most of my Christian friends.”
Muslims make around 1.9 percent of Canada's 32.8 million population, and Islam is the number one non-Christian faith in the Roman Catholic country.
Christmas is the main festival on the Christian calendar. Its celebrations reach its peak at 12:00 PM on December 24 of every year.
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