Christmas,as everyone knows the world around,Is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.We know that.But I'm not going the discuss any religious aspect of this festival,but rather talk about the traditions behind it.To be more specific,the traditions that I grew up,until I married my husband and converted to Islam.
Christmas is a day of meaning and traditions, a special day spent in the warm circle of family and friends."
~ Margaret Thatcher (1925- ), English political leader.
Like I said,Its still not about religion.Its about those wonderful red and green memories,those rituals we followed year after year.Some we looked forward to and some,the clashes of the drunk,we would dread.
As November would come to an end,we 3 knew,that the season to be jolly was coming near.And just the thought of it,brought so excitement,got us all keyed up.December 5th was the D day when my dad pulled out the Christmas tree from the recesses of the kitchen store.When he pulled the tree out,we 3 chuckled at the sight of it being unwrapped.
My mom would announce,"It is time for those letters.Remember,Santa Claus expects a handwritten letter that is legible,with more or less good grammar.Don't forget to write why you deserve them."This was a difficult thing to do coz within one week,it had to be posted to the North pole in the name of Santa and it was time consuming.All the playtime was used up writing this letter.But it was done with happiness.I drew stars,flowers,put up stickers if I had any,kissed them a 100 times,it was to impress Santa,so he would buy each and everything I asked for.
I didn't ask for much.It was Sri Devi's outfits,long black hair,the most wonderful dress for myself,drawing books,a trip around the world with Santa and his reindeer's,a chocolate bar that never finished,no matter how much you ate of it,Story books with tons of illustrations ,for my gifts to be bigger than my brother's and sister's and to wake me up when he was leaving the presents by our windows.
Why did I deserve any of it? Coz I'm the oldest of my siblings,I never lie( yeah right !) ,I'm a good girl ( my mom would laugh at this ),I ate all my greens ( after being beaten with a ruler) and for praying ( coz everyone in my row had closed their eyes and folded their hands in prayer).How would he know? I live in a desert and he lives surrounded by snow.My friends had told,he couldn't bear the heat after living in small cottage in the North pole.
Yeah ! I was Ms goody two shoes.I knew I was bound to get my gifts coz he wouldn't be unfair by giving me nothing.Besides,last year I beat my brother up so many times and I still got my presents.Evil child....you have no idea.
He would hand all 3 of us ornaments and one at a time,in coming days,we would hang them and decorate the tree eventually.After that,come every Friday,we woke up to Boney M's Christmas songs and many other christmasy songs.We woke up without being yanked out of bed.
Then came the turn of making Christmas sweets.These are unique sweets which are made only during the month of December by mangaloreans.And as the tradition goes,sweet making is completed by December 23rd and then a little bit of every sweet was decorated in a plate and we would go to every friend's and relatives home and hand them these trays,wishing them and inviting them to our homes.It was a beautiful tradition which brought friends and family much closer than one would think.Kidiyos,kulkuls,kookisa,newriyo - all this is called Kuswar.
Come D-day,people made the effort to visit every friend or relative they cherished,even if it was half an hour ,and back then, most of them had no cars.People didn't mind spending a little extra because in the end it was to make others and ourselves happy.There would be dancing,drinking,so much of merry making,people were bringing gifts,chocolates were overflowing,people laughing,hugging,feeding,eating,singing.It was that one time of the year,when no one felt too busy or got stingy.
I miss those days now and I wonder what do I do to keep these traditions living.Everyone seems busy,cannot spare the time or do something on the day coz its too much work and money.I think when you think about expenses and time consumed,you actually are not looking at the entire thing right.You aren't thinking about others but just yourself.And this is how the spirit of Christmas or any other festival dies when all one thinks ,is about oneself.
So to all out there.Festival is a time to create love and spread it.Don't expect something.Make new traditions,keep great old ones alive for ourselves and for our kids.Let them be a part of it and continue this with their families later on.I don't celebrate Christmas anymore but this tradition of my parents, if not in reality,is always celebrated in my heart.I live my Christmas in my mind and a little bit with my husband,but singing,keeping a tiny tree,making sweets and going out smiling with my friends and family when they have the time.
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