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Different at Christmas

Different at Christmas

Christmas is a time that means different things to different people and everyone celebrates it differently. Here are some examples.

 

Kevin – Vegetarian Christmas

Some people find the idea of Christmas without turkey strange but, as someone who went vegetarian 20 years ago, I’m used to it.

We have some “meat substitute”, which is soya made to look and taste like turkey and pigs in blankets.  To make it even more special we also cook a brie, roast vegetable and pine nut pie. It’s so nice that when we visit meat eaters on Boxing Day they always ask us to bring leftovers, as they’re bored with turkey!

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Andrew – A Druid Christmas

As a pagan who follows the druid path I celebrate Alban Arthur (the light of Arthur) on the 21st December, also known as the Winter Solstice or Yule.

I watch the sunset on the 20th December with a group of friends and, because we celebrate the birth of the new sun, we then get up for the sunrise on the 21st. We hold a ritual where we hold hands in a circle, symbolising the wheel of the year and that we are all equal. The person leading will call to the land, sea, sky and to the east, south, west and north (starting with east, because that’s where the sun rises), inviting the spirits of place and our ancestors of spirit, blood and place to join us.

We praise the birth of a new sun, bang drums and read poems as it rises over the horizon, heralding days that will begin to get longer and, we hope, warmer.  After this, we go to one of our houses where we eat food that we’ve all brought to share and exchange gifts that are handmade, not bought. We do not go for any of the commercialism.

 

Tahir – A Muslim Christmas

Muslims don’t celebrate Christmas (we have 2 Eids a year to contend with already!) but I know plenty of families, like mine, use the holiday to make an effort to cook something special (often a roast and trifle, much like a Christmas dinner) and spend time with loved ones watching telly in front of the fire. So we’re not unlike many others, perhaps we have more in common after all?

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Aleksandra – A Polish Christmas

Christmas in Poland is all about tradition. We clean everything, including windows and door handles, to the extreme level! The house gets decorated inside and out because... Why not? It’s Christmas!

Cooking is a big part of Christmas and the table should be full of delicious traditional food. A typical meal should include 12 traditional dishes, customised to taste. A few days before Christmas there is no space on the kitchen worktops, not even for a mug!

On Christmas Eve we all get together. It is usually a stressful day with last minute preparations, but as everybody finally sits down, we share ‘the body of Jesus’, giving best wishes to each and every person separately. It is a really touching, traditional moment when people that know each other well know exactly what to wish for each other (for example finding a fiancé for the grandson who is 30 and still single).

Then we all go to the church, where there’s an enormous amount of people.

Most Poles who have emigrated to England would love to return to Poland each Christmas to experience the snow and visit family, but unfortunately plane tickets cost a fortune these days. So, we celebrate Christmas with our family who are in England along with friends.  We make a phone call to grandma, of course, and a lot of tears will follow; but that’s life. Overall, Christmas here and in Poland can be done in the same way. This involves a lot of preparation, but it’s the people who make it a special day, not the country you’re in.

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