Cultural perspectives of Christmas

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As a Western Muslim I grew up affected as much by Catholic family and friends as Muslim ones, particularly at Christmas. The party of hot chocolate, gifts and unknown relatives that I always waited for with great desire – the only time when all the family got together.
Away from Spain, sadly, I realised Christmas wasn’t celebrated by everyone. Now, five years after the last time I celebrated Christmas, it reminds me of those carefree childhood years spent with my grandparents, and I am looking forward to celebrating again this year
when I visit Spain.
Osama Maghder Montfort

Christmas is good for shopping because many things are reduced in price but I do not celebrate Christmas. To me and my family it is like a normal day – sometimes it is hard to explain to my little children.
Amal Ahmed

Christmas means different things to different people. Growing up in Nigeria, some of my favourite childhood memories were of Christmas. As a Muslim, I always knew that Jesus was our prophet too and that sort of justified my excitement. At school, we had Christmas 
was everywhere. Moving to England I have come to realise that Christmas is not just the season of giving but also spending. Ironically, it is supposed to be a time to be grateful for what you have rather than buying things you do not really need.
Even if Christmas is not a religious celebration to me, it is associated with love, sharing and generosity and these are all positive traits. I also take advantage of the sales, who doesn’t like a bargain?
Fatima Barma

Christmas is the most amazing time in the year and I really enjoy it because schools are closed for two weeks. During the break I go shopping and watch the Christmas decorations and lights in Meadowhall. On Christmas day I invite my brother’s family and on next day my brother invites my family for dinner. We all sit together and eat. Although I am Muslim Christmas is a family time for me.
Saiqa Afreen

I love Christmas. People slow down and have time for reflection and family. People feel relaxed, have more time for each other. We are Catholics and Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. People in Poland celebrate Christmas on 24th December and in England on 25th December. On Christmas Eve we wait for the first star (a symbol of the star of Bethlehem) and when she appears we sit down to the table. In our tradition we put hay under the tablecloth and leave one seat free for someone who is lonely to visit. We meet our neighbours, family and friends, pray together, eat together and go to church. I feel very lucky that I can celebrate Christmas with my husband and children but I still miss my family from Poland. I like looking at Christmas tree and flashing lights and the time when children look out the window for Santa
Claus. I love this magical time when people have a lot of love and inner warmth.
Dorota Slawecka and Edyta Poppe

My family celebrate Christmas two times! First with our children because they are on Christmas holiday then, on 4th January we celebrate with friends and families in church and at home. On 25th December our friends come to our house to celebrate together and eat our cultural food but I make two different foods. Me and my friends are fasting. We cannot eat meat, milk, chicken, egg, but the children eat everything. The second Christmas is our country’s Christmas. We celebrate Christmas Eve at church. The children stay at home with Dad, and I go to church alone.
Mekedes Abraham and Muiu Weldergiorgies
from Eritrea

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