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anything wrong with this picture?

The world’s most expensive (yet fake) Christmas tree sits in the lobby of the Emirates Palace Hotel of Abu Dhabi. Decorated with pearl necklaces, diamond-studded watches, and gold jewellery, it is said to be worth US$ 11.5 million. 

If that’s not weird enough, the display of Christian symbols (tree, singers, santas) is rapidly spreading in that Muslim country, while here at home we exchange politically correct “Season’s” greetings and do away with public recognition of this holy-day, lest someone might be offended. How are things in your corner of the world?

credit: story SPIEGEL, photo AP.


One response »

  1. I think the shift away from publicly funded and promoted expressions of Christmas is complicated. One the one hand, it’s true that there is something stale and dull about “season’s greetings” and the generalized forms of celebrations that end up happening out of concerns of offending people. On the other hand, Christmas is a Christian holiday, regardless of the heavy commercial element that has developed around it, and secularized it to some degree. I have always found it highly problematic when nations that are pluralistic in religious/spiritual views endorse and finance expressions of one, but no others. Christmas is still a national holiday in the U.S., even though religious diversity has greatly increased, as well as the number of atheists and agnostics. And there are still a lot of public schools and other public entities that celebrate only Christmas, even if the people involved are more than just Christian.

    There has to be a better way than the efforts to suppress expressions of Christmas. But I think it’s important to also not minimize the “offense” of those who aren’t Christian. As a Buddhist, I’ve often felt invisible this time of year. You say Rohatsu, and almost no one has even heard of it. There’s no recognized holiday celebrating our way, nor is there for Muslims, Hindus, animists, pagans, etc. Jewish folks get a nod, but that’s about it for them. We’re all just expected to go along, and make Christmas “ours” somehow, which I have to some degree. But you know, wouldn’t it be more healthy and joyful if religious and spiritual minorities actually were celebrated and supported more – and not told to stop complaining about things like Christmas and Easter (which also gets a fair amount of play in the U.S.)?

    I’m not saying you are telling people to shut up, but I’ve certainly experienced that, as well as have been told that “Christmas is for everyone.” Which is nice and all, but really does nothing to address the fact that the wisdom and uniqueness of the rest of our paths are ignored and even suppressed by statements like that.


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