Q&A: In Interfaith Marriages, What Religion Are the Kids?
Plus: What women should wear to a mosque; visiting an Orthodox church; and pork for Jehovah's Witnesses
I am Hindu and my husband's family is Christian. We want to have my daughter's first birthday party the day after Good Friday. Someone told me that it is not good to have parties on Easter weekend because it is not good etiquette. Am I being disrespectful to my husband's family if we decide to keep her birthday party on that day? My husband and I are OK with it. --Rupa
It really depends on how religious your husband's family is. Some devout Christians spend much of the Triduum--the three days of Jesus' death and resurrection--in prayer or at church services. Though there is no rule against having secular celebrations on Holy Saturday, going to a festive birthday party in between more somber religious services might seem spiritually jarring to the Christians you've invited.
However, if your husband's family--and other Christian guests--are not especially observant, it's unlikely they would resent a birthday invitation. In fact, some Christians believe Easter rejoicing can begin as early as Holy Saturday afternoon. They might enjoy celebrating your daughter's birth at a time that focuses on spiritual rebirth.
I recently visited a Greek Orthodox Church with a friend for the first time. As I am a Baptist by faith, I felt awkward when the people of the church got down on their knees to worship/greet the priest as he came by blessing them. Should I, or anyone visiting, practice the same 'rituals'? Should we also pray in the name of The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit? I will be visiting this church again and need help.
Stand tall--if you want to. As Beliefnet's Orthodoxy columnist, Frederica Mathewes-Green, notes in herhandy guide for first-time visitors to Orthodox churches
, "Standing there feeling awkward is all right... No one will notice if you don't prostrate. In Orthodoxy there is a wider acceptance of individualized expressions of piety, rather than a sense that people are watching you and getting offended if you do it wrong."
It's usually safe to assume that church members of goodwill wouldn't want you to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. So don't worry about not kneeling to greet the priest or praying in the name of the Trinity. Just participate in the Liturgy to the extent you find meaningful.