Forty-Something Years in Ninaland

What is Christmas to a Brown Person?—Repost


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What is Christmas to a Brown Person?–Edited

Christmas to a Brown person:  Is it just another day?  No, not really.  Is it holy?  No not really?  Is it a joke? No way. We Indians and South Asians, and other people who are not associated directly with Christianity have realized that Christmas means something to us, it’s just hard to figure out what exactly.

I will tell you one thing, at least for me, it has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus Christ.  It has something to do with, I can only speak for myself, I repeat I am not speaking for all my brown brothers and sisters when I say Christmas is like this party that we crashed.  The party was not for us, and we weren’t even invited, but it’s a pretty good party.  We will stay and have fun, but if anyone asks us what we are doing there, we really have no good answer.

Christmas Crashers, that’s what we are.

I mean of course we are coming to your party, this country has a big party on the 25th of December, I mean even Meijers is not open, I mean you can’t even buy a banana if you wanted to on Christmas Day.  That says something about our society, we shut down to the point where you feel guilty if you have no Christmas spirit and you just eat a banana.  There must be a feast…a feast filled with joy!
I don’t rack up a credit card bill from buying presents for other people during the holidays, no no. I usually rack up a credit card bill buying things for myself at Christmas sales. Honestly, I hate to tell you the ugly truth, but for me and many of my brown sisters Christmas is about shopping. And more shopping.
For ourselves though. Christmas is about me, you see. It’s all really about me. I mean I could lie and tell you that it’s about family or religion to me, but my family doesn’t celebrate it, and neither does my religion. But I get a week or so off. I do hang out with my family and friends during the holidays, but really it’s me time!
Does that sound selfish and crude about a holiday that means so much to a lot of the world? I’m just being honest, for me Christmas is about great food, shopping, friends, and parties. To me there is nothing really holy about consumerism mixed with alcoholic beverages. Christmas is to many brown poeple what it is to many white people: an excuse to party.
There is much controversy in the Western world about this new Christmas that is all about gifts etc. instead of the Lord. For Indian people it makes it easier for us to get in on this holiday. Most Americans are not super-religious at Christmas or any other time. It’s more important that I know the name of all the reindeer than all the apostles. Santa is more popular than Jesus. Because there is this plastic nature to this holiday, this is something I can sort of get in on and not feel like I’m celebrating someone eles’s religion.
I’m not Christian, but Christmas is just as much mine as it is yours.

Let’s talk about that for a second. There is something about the feeling in the air, it’s about celebration and fun and some kind of liquor, let’s be real.  But it’s more than that, we want to celebrate something…something.

The quintessential Christmas scene that Indians dream that all white people have at home

It’s got to do with something pretty, like lights in the middle of the dead of winter.  When it gets darker and darker.  For me it’s an excuse to be happy, and I need excuses this time of year.


 My roommate and I are having a few people over for Christmas this year.  She’s not Brown but she has a love-hate thing with Christmas too.  
I mean it’s a demanding time of year, you are expected to have fun and love, and if you don’t have “enough” of it you could be left out.
My mom has in the past made chicken curry on Christmas.  Last year we had Thai food for the holiday.  This year my roommate put up a tree, a new thing for her and she’s White.
I have to admit the Christmas tree by the fire is beautiful.  For me it has nothing to do with baby Jesus or gifts, it has to do with celebration.  I want to celebrate something even if I don’t know what that thing is.
Maybe that thing is life itself.  I want to be happy and things like egg nog and Christmas lights make me happy.  
It’s also about being an American.  I’m just as much American as I am Indian, if not more.  It’s hard to measure.
I may have a different spin on Christmas than the average American but I still want to be a part of this thing.  Holidays are a wonderful thing and whatever culture you live in you want to fit in, to some degree.
Christmas may not be holy to me but it’s precious to me.  
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