Thursday, December 20, 2007

In the land of heathens

Somehow this year I find Christmas unbearable. It's my seventh festive season in England. I hate it: I hate the red and black in the shop fronts, I hate the schmaltsie songs in the restaurants, I hate the hysteria building up, I hate the fact that everything - including public transport - will stop over the next few days. Even the trains to the airports stop.

Why a post-Christian nation would still want to go through this annual nerve-wrecking experience is one question. With Church attendance falling to the margins of statistical error, this festival can hardly be called religious, even if you insist on the chorals. But more important, London is not England. At least two out of the seven or eight millions of people living here come from other religious backgrounds: mostly Muslims, but also Hindu, Sikh, Budhist, and Jews. Why do we non-Christians have to suffer? It doesn't mean anything to most of us, not even the hazy memories of some original myth that we no longer believe in. It's just another cold two weeks in which you can't do anything and have to stay at home, unless you escape out of the country in time.

I now realize this is how Palestinians in Israel must feel during the High Holidays or Passover. The frenzy of another people's festivals can offer some amusement, but it's annoying when the banks are closed, the buses don't work, or - in the case of people in the West Bank -you're under virtual curfew (just to make sure you won't upset your neighbours festivities).


Niki said...

Oh man, it sounds like you like x-mas holidays as much as I do. I too, find the whole season totally unbearable. As if the short, cold, cloudy days aren't bad enough on their own!

mink said...

This year the pre-Christmas time was the worst. I don't know why. Maybe because I had to do some shopping (for the new home) and had to deal with the hysteria rather than watch it.

Yes the cold makes it horrible. It must be more tolerable in a warmer climate - like in South Africa NZ Aus etc