Culture & Entertainment

What's in a name? Let's talk about The 60-Day Holiday Countdown.

Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

What's in a name? Let's talk about The 60-Day Holiday Countdown.

I was very excited when I found out I'd be the editor in charge of the 60-Day Holiday Countdown package this year. Mind, you the task seemed larger than life when I first took it on, but the months of effort have been worth it. My goal this year was to create a package that was all-inclusive, focusing on all the beautiful and exciting holidays that take place during these two months. We started off the 60 days with Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, and will be carrying forward with Hanukkah, Advent, Christmas -- right through to New Year's Day. How exciting! There's so much content to share with our readers, and everyday, when our newsletter comes out, I'm filled with childlike anticipation to see what everyone will say. What I never expected were the surprising comments that have streamed in through social media, chastising us for using the word 'holiday' instead of, specifically, Christmas. And then my heart breaks. A couple of weeks back, over on our Facebook page, one reader commented on a holiday-themed post saying, "Christmas is a Canadian holiday, and if people don't like it, they should go back to where they came from." At first, I dismissed this comment as a thought written out in the heat of the moment, and that it would eventually disappear. But it didn't. In fact, people started liking this comment, showing support. Two concerns passed through my mind: 1. When did Christmas become a 'Canadian' holiday rather than a 'Christian' holiday? 2. Did people really believe this to be true? Here's a little fact about me -- I was born in India, and spent quite a number of years there. I was raised in a Catholic household and celebrated Christmas every year, just like millions of Christians do around the world. Never once did I ever associate Christmas with a particular nationality. Mind you, though my Christmases were tropical (Imagine Santa in shorts, and parties on the beach!), traditionally speaking, they were no different than the ones I spend in Canada. We decorated trees (fake pines, of course), dazzled our houses with twinkly lights, set up a nativity scene, went to midnight mass, spent time with family and exchanged gifts. In fact, I'd say the Christmases there were less commercialized there than they are here. We focused more on being together with loved ones rather than making sure we got the latest video game system. I suppose my struggle with this comment is the negativity associated with it. It screams that being a true Canadian means being Christian -- which is absurd. To put it in perspective, India has a population of 1.2 billion people who are of different faiths. Yet, every time there is a holiday, people come together to celebrate as one. Whether it's Diwali or Eid, Christmas or Ganesha Chaturthi, everyone embraces the religious holidays as a reason to celebrate and be happy together. In Canada, we're so lucky to be a beautiful mosaic of people from all across the world. Just like Christmas, we get to learn about and embrace Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali, Eid, Easter, Holi, Chuseok, the Lunar New Year, and so much more. Why would anyone pass up on an opportunity to celebrate? My friends and family make up different races and religions from various parts of the world, and I consider myself blessed to be able to participate in their traditions when the holidays come around. Having an open mind lets you enjoy life to the fullest. And that's kind of the reason why we've called our package the 60-Day Holiday Countdown -- a celebration of love, faith and traditions, regardless of your religion. (Plus, think about all the new and yummy recipes you'll be exposed to!) Whether you agree with me or not, I'd love to hear from you. And more than that, I want to hear about some of the traditions in your family. Please share them in the comments section below.
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Culture & Entertainment

What's in a name? Let's talk about The 60-Day Holiday Countdown.

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