Thursday, December 26, 2019

HoCo Holler: Esha Bhatti, Student

On most Thursdays I am getting dressed and getting ready to leave the house by the time my weekly issue of the Columbia Flier appears in my inbox. It’s a little luxury today to be able to peruse it before writing today’s post.

I often find myself headed toward the letters to the editor page to see what is on peoples’ minds. Some letters are eloquent, some angry, some comically bad. In general they are written to advocate in favor of something or to protest against. This week there was one which broke the usual pattern by aiming solely to inform.

A grateful Village Green/Town² HoCo Holler goes out today to Reservoir High School student Esha Bhatti who wrote a letter to the Columbia Flier to explain why Muslims don’t celebrate Christmas. It is a beautifully written piece which shines a light on Muslim beliefs and practices for a community which may be largely ignorant of them. The tone is forthright yet clearly respectful of other religions and traditions.

My understanding of this topic before today was rather basic. “Some faiths celebrate a religious version of Christmas, some don't, and that’s their business and not for me to judge.” But Bhatti’s letter illuminates the why in such a beautiful way. Those of us who celebrate Christmas are supported by a sort of default Christmas setting in both churches and popular culture, not to mention the retail industry. Being different this time of year must feel like swimming against the tide.

But this high school student’s missive is not a complaint, not a protest. There’s no sense of exasperation but purely a desire to inform. And I am guessing that it comes from a belief that with greater understanding comes better relationships and interactions. I heartily recommend that you read it. If you don’t have a subscription it’s worth one of your designated free clicks.

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