Sunday, November 29, 2015

MERRY CHRISTMAS; メリークリスマス (Japanese); ප්රීතිමත් නත්තලක් (Sinhali); کریسمس مبارک (Persian)

I just got an invitation to a "holiday party." What's that? It's what people throw when they're afraid they're going to offend someone by saying "Christmas party." That bothered me. I won't say it "offended" me, because I don't want to be identified as one of those people who have a hair trigger for getting offended. I did find the situation paradoxical, however. In a country which is 71% Christian, you can't celebrate Christmas for fear of offending people (non-Christians, I suppose), but in Japan, which is 90% Shinto and only 1% Christian, they celebrate Christmas. Christians find the way they celebrate it to be a little weird, but they celebrate it nonetheless. They eat KFC for Christmas and have Christmas trees shaped like Godzilla! I once got a Christmas card from a Japanese friend--it had a Samurai warrior on it, but it did say "Merry Christmas." In Sri Lanka, which is 70% Buddhist and only 7 % Christian, they celebrate Christmas. And in Iran (yes, Iran) they celebrate Christmas, with Christmas trees, no less!

So in the Alice-in-Wonderland world of twenty first century America, you can't celebrate Christmas for fear of offending non-Christians, but in non-Christian countries, it's perfectly alright to celebrate Christmas.