(Photo credit: http://bit.ly/1Ml92vL)
It is very easy if you live in the developed or western world to see that everything seems to be building up to that big 25th of December day where all things will finally be at peace and serenity for a week then New Year’s eve pops up and good cheer reigns for a few more days still! It really is as if the world stands still, or even dare I say it, closes! Well, yes, for some that is.
In the world I grew up in Christmas was about barbecues. swimming at the beach and long school holidays, while for other places it was about snow skiing, snuggling up next to an open fire with an egg nog, and shoveling the 5ft high snow from the door. Even in Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, which is predominantly Muslim/Buddhist/Hindu, there are still massive unmatched traffic jams on the few days before Christmas, then a ghost town for those 7 days between the Christmas and New Year.
But for many who are not involved in the whole massive economic tsunami called Christmas, the 25th and 31st of December are just normal days.
For example, in the words of a Muslim friend of mine when I asked him when his birthday was he said it was 25th of December. I said – ‘Oh wow – you were born on Christmas Day?!’ to which he answered with delight…..’Was I?’
But this post is really about the rest of the world, not the ‘glittering Christmas and New Year world’, because I think people do need to know what else is out there other than all this festivity.
It takes me back to a story I have of one of my many trips to our schools in Somalia. It was December 2012, I was staying alone in a hotel and it was New Year’s Eve. I was wondering if Somali’s actually celebrated such a thing (knowing of course they wouldn’t celebrate Christmas as they were Muslims), but did they celebrate the new year? (Which doesn’t have any religious connections at all).
I was laying on my bed in my room reading something and wondering what the rest of the world were doing at that moment. My home country of New Zealand had already celebrated the new year in, Malaysia was also ticked off as entering the new year and it was time for Somalia now to move into the time zone.
I tentatively watched the minutes’ tick closer and closer to 12.00am and started looking outside the window, but there seemed little life going on.
Until finally just when the clock struck 12.00, I heard a few loud fire crackers go off nearby, following by a string of more, until finally I ran down into the courtyard of the hotel to see where all the action was happening.
I quickly asked the security guard where the fireworks were coming from, and he stood back and listened intently to the long string of fire crackers continuing to go off nearby. After a short analysis of what he heard, he quickly turned to me and said ‘Sorry Ma’am they’re not fire crackers, that’s gunfire!’ Then without so much as a smile or any further comment, unaffected, he went back to his post.
I nodded and quickly went back to my room.
The reason I wanted to tell this story is because I wanted the world to know that it is important to take a few moments at Christmas to think to yourself about the world as a whole. Christmas is not celebrated by even the majority of the world.
Christmas and New Year are predominantly western concepts, and for most in the world, life turns over with business as usual….And in the case of Somalia, it was gunfire ….. that was business as usual.
Is Christmas something important in your life? Or is Christmas for you something that only happens to other people in other places.