Blogmas 1 – Why I Celebrate Christmas
Welcome to Blogmas 2018. I only started blogging in January so this is my first Blogmas. I’m really excited to take part in this – although I hope I don’t run out of ideas halfway through!
For those of my readers who don’t know, it’s basically an advent calendar on my blog, which means I’ll be uploading a new post every day – from today until Christmas Day.I will be writing about all sorts of things all based around the most wonderful time of the year.
As it’s Day 1, I thought I’d start with why and how I celebrate Christmas. I first came across this question at university: As a British-Indian, why do I celebrate this Christian festival?I never faced with this question, growing up in multi-cultural Birmingham. It came up every now and then in general conversation with my fellow Asian friends and family.
But I was never asked this by anyone outside of my inner circle.I wasn’t offended. It’s a legitimate question to ask, I guess. I went on to explain that we had always celebrated Christmas in my household and in my extended family too.
Yes, we don’t celebrate it for it’s true meaning – the birth of Christ – but I’ve always respected the reason and origin of the festival. Many Asian families embrace the traditions and join in with the festivities whole-heartedly.It was no different for me growing up and it’s no different as I raise my children now. If anything, we have gone further and do even more than I did as a child, around the festive season.
My parents arrived from India as immigrants in the late 60s and started celebrating Christmas because it was an excuse to spend time with family and take on this very British tradition with open arms. My mum decided we couldn’t have our roast until after the Queen’s speech!We started really going big on Christmas when I became a teenager because by then my two older sisters were already in their late teens. That’s when we got a bigger tree and started exchanging presents.
I used to spend my pocket money on 7″ vinyls for my sisters of whatever artist they were into at the time – Bros, New Kids On The Block, Kylie etc. Singles were only a couple of quid at the time but it was a valuable gift.It’s one of my favourite times of the year. I love decorating my house on the first of December. I enjoy planning my social calendar and having lots of friends and family round. I’m as excited as my kids are to open our advent calendars and make our annual trip to panto.
We cook a traditional Christmas dinner and look forward to exchanging gifts on Christmas morning.I love Christmas carols and songs. In fact, as young girls, my sisters and I would sing Christmas carols at the front of our house to entertain passers-by with the encouragement of my parents.
When Shalini was a part of the Brownies, we loved visiting Church with the group, lighting candles and singing hymns.As a youngster, we would go to the local church service every Christmas with school.
For me, Christmas is about respecting a religion, even if that’s not the reason I celebrate it. I love it when my non-Asian friends join in with Hindu and Sikh festivals like Diwali or Vaisakhi. That’s the beauty of growing up in a multi-cultural city.I know there’s been negative press in the past about Christmas as a festival being diluted and I don’t want to go too much down that route. Many of my non-Asian friends only celebrate Christmas for the same reasons as me and they’ve had Christian upbringings.
They just enjoy the warmth of the season, the socialising and the excuse to be off work for a while and take some much needed rest with their loved ones. It’s about fun and family.Christmas has become a part of my integrated culture. I am proud to be Indian and I am proud to be British at the same time. I have very comfortably balanced both worlds throughout my life.
I’ve got lots planned for Christmas month and am really looking forward to sharing this journey with you.
See you tomorrow for my second Blogmas post.