Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Christmas in Nigeria

Thanks for all the interesting posts and different views on Christmas. I think we all can yearn for memories of festivities of our childhood. And of course, Christmas is always localised to whatever climate. As one commentor noted, the irritating thing about Christmas in the West nowadays is that it is just a highpoint on the retail sales calendar and can be a cue for intense loneliness for those left out of the action in such an alienated society.

I think I just had an allergic reaction to so many blinging fake christmas trees. When I was growing up, people with fake trees were considered tacky tasteless beings confined to a life of ITV and tinned food (nice bit of class snobbery going on there). So I cannot help looking at plastic trees here and think that we're a long way from Norway or Germany. But perhaps this is just a middle-class/elite phenomenon as someone else noted.

But the larger point is that like all public events, Christmas is highly contested and has multiple meanings around christendom and beyond it. In parts of Europe, the festival of St Nicholas (where "Santa Claus" comes from) is more important than Christmas. What is happening in Europe as christianity's influence continues to wane is that christmas is becoming a secular gathering festival as it was before - the Jesus narrative slowly dropping out in favour of gift-giving and communality. In multi-faith and post-faith societies, what we need I think are more secular rituals that bring us together across our differences. Although as a veggie I dont like the meat aspect, the US Thanksgiving ritual is one such example.


Anonymous,  7:16 pm  

Here's a cute story about Christmas in Naija.


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