Twenty years ago the average South African was not familiar with Diwali or Ramadan. The year was structured around Easter (Durban) and Christmas (Presents). Granted, the easter date moved around like a marble on a fishing boat. But we all have a general sense of when should weddings be planned and that golf trip with the mates pencilled in.
Disclaimer: the last thing this post wants to do is offend anyone on religious/cultural/historical grounds. We love the best in both traditions. If anything, we see something that people are talking about silently but not in the open, and we believe that devotees/believers should be open to this for the benefit of their communities.
As the old racial barriers dissolve, interracial relationships become widely accepted and the laaities look at us as though we’re stupid when they get told that what they are doing now would have been illegal a generation or two ago.
Those idiotic political decisions are overcome by time and sensitivity. Cultural changes, however, are not made by politicians but are learned on the loving mother’s lap and are baked in, taking much longer to change in an individual, a community and a nation.
The Indian communities have always been aware of each other’s holidays due to their closeness, due to their business dealings and the public holidays that the government of the day announced. We take it in our stride. Eid is a thing, so is Diwali and Holi. The more our colleagues and neighbours are aware why we doing what we are, when we are – the more they become aware.
We should be mindful that the risk is that businesses start taking over these holidays and commercialise them to a point where they are hardly recognisable from the spiritual and cultural point. That has happened with Christmas and the same is happening with Eid.