Tomorrow is Eid al-Adha, one of the two holidays in the Islamic calendar.
Tomorrow, I have 5 classes scheduled, as well as a mandatory 2 hour session.
I already missed a mandatory session last week as well as 3 classes, because I accompanied my sister to an Islamic event in Calgary that she wasn’t able to attend by herself.
This Friday, I will be tested on last week’s 3 missed classes, tomorrow’s 5 (to-be-) missed classes, and another lecture later in the week. Just so happened that this week, they decided to host nearly ALL of our classes on the day I’ll have to miss. Wednesday and Thursday of this week are nearly empty in our schedules. Of course, I have the option of not missing it. I have the option of coming to school when all my friends and family and community are celebrating our one of two holidays in the year, and not having to submit another absence form for why I missed another mandatory session.
I know it doesn’t sound like a big deal to miss one day of class, and it probably isn’t, but every year that Eid falls during school, I find myself very bitter. It just cancels out so much of the diversity promotion that we pride ourselves on when a holiday celebrated by such a huge population of Canadians doesn’t get any recognition. And again, it’s just a holiday, maybe it shouldn’t be that big of a deal. But here I am getting days off for Easter and Christmas and Aboriginal Genocide Day–oops, I mean, Thanksgiving–and sitting around on my butt not really not doing much celebrating; but when I ask for some validation for my own religion, I struggle to get the day off. It hurts not to be recognised, and it speaks to much more than just one day… it kind of speaks to your identity as a whole, and whether or not they acknowledge you as a person.
And look, I’m not saying I have a solution for how to make national holidays for every religion in the book–I realise we’d barely have a work week without a stat holiday in it. So I don’t have an answer for that. But… this is a problem. And it bothers me, a lot.