By M Rafiqu
Like all ethnicity of Burma, the holidays of Rohingyas can also be categorised into three groups such as national, political and religious based on two calendars – solar and lunar.
Rohingyas celebrate national holidays the way all the people of Burma do, but political holidays are not celebrated inside the country due to the restrictions and fears of government crackdown.
The only holidays celebrated widely inside the country are the religious holidays, among them one is regard as a national holiday which is Eid-Ul-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice) and others are celebrated separately.
Rohingyas celebrate Eid-Ul-Fitr widely at the end of Ramadan (Fasting month) for three days by thanksgiving to Almighty Allah (God), reuniting family, visiting friends, giving the poor obligatory charity (known as Zakat), and many more.
Another widely celebrated holiday is Eid-Ul-Adha at the end of Hajj (annual pilgrimage to Mecca) to commemorate the trials and triumphs of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) from Allah’s (God’s) command to sacrifice his son Ishmael.
To follow the commandments of Allah, Rohingyas too slaughter animals such camel, or goat and distribute meats to three groups of people (immediate family and relatives, friends and the poor); and followed by visits with family and friends, and exchanges of greeting and gifts.
Besides, there are two major spiritual holidays which are commonly celebrated by Rohingyas are Lailatul Qadr (The Night of Power – when the first verses of the Quran were revealed to Muhammad) and Shabe Barat (The Night of Freedom – Allah (God) frees all His sinful servants who were destined for Hell). In these days, Rohingyas spend days paying homage deceased relatives and feeding poor; and spend nights intensely involved in prayer, meditation and seeking forgiveness.
- Independence Day (January 4th) marks Burma’s independence from the British Empire in 1948.
- Union Day (February 12th) marks the anniversary of the Panglong Agreement in 1947.
- Burmese New Year Day (April 17th) marks the New Year of the Burmese calendar.
- Martyr’s Day (July 19th) commemorates the assassination of Aung San and several other cabinet members in 1947.
- Rohingya Teacher Day (March 3rd) marks the date of birth of a Rohingya Teacher in 1976.
- Rohingya Martyrdom Day (March 28th) in 1942 when Rohingya laid down their lives while the Thakin the heinous.
- Rohingya massacre on 28th March, 1942.
- Rohingya Indigenous Ethnic Day (25th September) in 1954 at 8.00 pm the then Prime Minister of Burma, U Nu in his radio speech to the nation declared aboriginal Rohingya as an indigenous Rohingya Community.
- Rohingya Refugee Memorial Day (November 18th) commemorates the deaths of Rohingya Refugees on forced repatriations in Bangladesh from 1993 onwards.
- Darkness Day (December 28th) marks the day of Burma conquered ARAKAN by Burma king Buda Puya on 1784.
- Lailatul Qadr – Towards the end of Ramadan, Muslims observe the “Night of Power,” which is when the first verses of the Quran were revealed to Muhammad
- Eid al-Fitr – At the end of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate “The Festival of Fast-Breaking.”
- Shabe Barat – The Night of Freedom when Allah (God) frees all His sinful servants who were destined for Hell and the Eminent Quran descended in it.
- Hajj – Each year during the 12th month of the Islamic calendar, millions of Muslims make an annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia called Hajj.
- Eid al-Adha – At the end of the annual pilgrimage, Muslims.