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Globalization and Christmas


Tue Dec 18, 2012

EDITOR: Come December 25th, Christians worldwide will be celebrating Christmas, the day that the Lord and Saviour was said to have been born. Some may argue this; right or wrong, however, Christmas is a traditional celebration that brings people together in love, togetherness, and sharing.{{more}}

In recent times, this celebration has been infiltrated by commercial activities, thus eroding the true spirit of the tradition. As someone who was born and raised in a rural community of St Vincent and the Grenadines, I can reminisce on the Christmases of yesteryear. I can recall that the season started with Nine Mornings. Persons waking up early in the morning in the nine days before Christmas, going to the beach, attending community fetes, going to church, window shopping in the city, etc. Farmers would be harvesting their green peas, sorrel, ginger, and provisions, to be put on sale for that special Christmas dinner. Oh yes, those who could not afford would receive a gift of some sorrel, some peas, or a yam from a good neighbour, all in the spirit of sharing. The pigs would be slaughtered, along with goat, sheep and cattle, and the meat put on sale in the community and shared.

As Christmas Day approached, many households would engage in cleaning, decorating, and baking. Oh, how could you forget the cakes and bread made from a drum oven? And what was most significant – friends and neighbours would gather at one central place for those who did not have a drum oven to bake collectively, while enjoying the discussion of the local melée, while the children were engaged in games.

Yes, I remember Gonsalves’ Black Wine, a favourite drink for Christmas. And of course, the serenading, the sing outs, by persons within the community moving from house to house. The spirit was one of love, sharing, and togetherness. The community became one household, and ensured those less fortunate received something.

Today, that practice is changing drastically, which significantly impacts how Christmas should be celebrated. While one understands that things change and society evolves, globalization is definitely influencing our Christmas celebration. Our local media have been bombarded with commercials, sales and higher purchase items, and persons engaged in exorbitant buying and spending. Persons are no longer engaged in community baking. They sit in the comfort of their homes and order cakes and other goodies. In most cases, it is the big businesses that benefit from Christmas, and not the local community. Everything is being done for commercial purposes, people are becoming more individualistic and remote in their celebration, and there is a lack of community spirit.

Credit must be given to the local Nine Mornings celebration committees for keeping the tradition of Nine Mornings alive and preventing it from become a jam and wine. We must also recognize the Salvation Army and organizations like House of Hope, which continue to reach out to the unfortunate and the poor.

Clearly, we need to revisit our Christmas celebration. First, understand the reason for the season. As the saying goes, keep Christ in your Christmas. Look out for our unfortunate brothers and sisters. Bring back the love, the togetherness, and spirit of sharing and giving associated with our Christmas celebration over the years. Maybe this year is the right time to start afresh.

Gerald Primus