By Zara Oong
Christmas is defined by “the annual Christian festival celebrating Christ’s birth, held on 25 December”. Although Google is doing her best, this definition is technically correct, but incredibly shallow and sparks much interest into the complex layers that makes up Christmas every year.
Although you might not expect it, there are several other religions that celebrate Christmas all around the world. Some of these include Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jewish and Atheism. Although there are some religious affiliation with Christ for some of these religions, most view this time of year as a celebration of joy, blessing and love. While many also view this as a period to spend time with loved ones in celebration of time together, connection and compassion for others. Rudri Patel, a Hindu mother, discusses this “year after year, we send out Christmas cards celebrating the joy of the season and attend holiday parties," Patel wrote. "As my parents taught me, I want my daughter to understand that identifying with one religion doesn't mean she can't embrace the traditions of another faith." No words could present a more perfect summary of religious tolerance and acceptance of others’ traditions.
Although Christmas can be a wonderful time of joy, it can be an incredibly stressful and weighing time for those in financially unstable situations, with the high expectation of consumerism often associated with the holiday and the forever expanding list of presents expected to gift loved ones. Additionally, this can be a difficult time for those who do not celebrate the holiday, with expectations of everyone participating in Christmas, it can be quite common for religious ignorance
But, perhaps the true meaning of Christmas has been drowned in the high associated materialism that arises from expectations of gifts. The Christmas gift was originally associated with the gift of Jesus’ salvation, of love, kindness and eternality of life. Now, the Christmas gift is all about how many items of fast fashion are received, about the next obsolete gift destined to be replaced by the newest version of the same exact product, all adding to the pile of materialistic items that exist to serve as a buffer in a short-term want, never a long-term fulfillment such as helping others.
This Christmas, think about others, participate in religious dialogue and discover the celebrations of other religions, use the true meaning of Christmas to spread joy amongst your loved ones. Lastly, view it as a celebration of joy, love, happiness, contentment and togetherness; not the celebration of the newest item added to your collection.