Muslims want national holiday after Ukrainian Rada establishes second Christmas

After the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada decided yesterday to make December 25 an official holiday, representatives of other religions have also begun to call for their holidays to garner official, national recognition, reports Channel 24.

The vast majority of Ukrainians celebrate the Nativity of Christ according to the Old Calendar, which falls on the civil date of January 7, although there are about 800,000 Ukrainians who celebrate on December 25 according to the New Calendar. Ukrainian parliament officially established December 25 as a national holiday yesterday, with 238 out of 331 votes in favor.

Mufti of the Spiritual Administration of Ukraine Sayid Ismagilov has said he supports the Rada’s decision, and also proposed to make one of the main Islamic feasts, Eid al-Adha (the Feast of the Sacrifice), a national holiday as well.

“To be consistent and fair, the main feast of Muslims—Eid al-Adha—could also become a non-working day,” Ismagilov said. The holiday is celebrated according to a lunar calendar, falling inSeptember this year, and in August next year.

The mufti noted that many may disagree with this initiative, but noted that no religion can be favored over another according to the constitution. “It’s inherently easy when a religious holiday is a nationwide holiday, and no one will schedule an examination or a test that day,” the mufti argued.

Not all are happy with the Rada’s decision to make December 25 a national holiday, according to Head of the Information-Education Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Archbishop Clement of Irpin has stated that this decision is against the will of people and is designed to weaken confidence in the canonical Orthodox Church, which the schismatic nationalistic churches operating in the country deride for its status under the administration of the Moscow Patriarchate.

“More than 80% of Ukrainians consider Pascha and Nativity the most important holidays. Nearly as many do not fully trust the Verkhnova Rada. Therefore, it gives the impression that … the deputies are trying to weaken the overwhelming trust in the Church,” the hierarch stated.