Throughout Ruston there are signs posted, pictures of Jesus and even pictures of Santa Claus showing this is a community that celebrates Christmas.
Christmas can be a special day for area families, but for two international students at Louisiana Tech, Christmas is different.
Chandip Maskey, a Hindu sophomore nanotechnology major from Nepal, said he does not believe that being non-Christian in a Christian environment has any type of effect on him.
“I don’t feel like religion should segregate us; I feel everybody is equal,” Maskey said. “God is the same. It is just a belief.”
Maskey has encountered situations where being a different ethnicity played a roll.
“To be honest people look at me and see I’m not from here, and in my culture the way I learned is different from here,” Maskey said. “I may crack a joke and people take offense because of the situation but in my country it is different.”
Hasna Aldawood, a Muslim freshman biomedical engineering major from Saudi Arabia, said she embraces the holiday.
“I feel alright,” she said. “They are friendly. A lot of my friends are Christians, and they are the same.”
Aldawood said she wants to be treated like any other person and not any different because of her religion.
“People give me looks, but I don’t mind because I have friends that like me the way I am so, I’m satisfied,” she said. “I’m the same as any other American. I just have different religious views.”
On Christmas Day many people gather with their loved ones to celebrate, and Maskey shares the same vision.
“I feel special about Christmas because it is worldwide,” Maskey said.
In most places the images of Christmas can be seen, but for the Nepal native, the presence of Christmas is not felt at home.
“We sit at home and enjoy time with family,” Maskey said.
Aldawood said she and her family stay open minded.
“In Saudi Arabia, they don’t celebrate Christmas. It is a big thing if you do celebrate Christmas,” she said. “In my opinion, Jesus is one of our prophets. It is the day of his birth, so why not?”
Aldawood said she planned to buy a Christmas tree and put up Christmas lights to celebrate the holiday.
As for Santa Claus, Maskey said in his country it is a whole new ball game.
“We don’t believe in Santa Claus because we don’t celebrate Christmas,” Maskey said.
Celebrating Christmas for some people is normal but for these two students celebrating Christmas is different.
“I’m probably going to watch the Grinch,”Aldawood said. “My friends invited me to Christmas party.”
Email comments to dki...@latech.edu.