Can we get away from Christmas?
Sometimes I wonder if it is possible to get away from Christmas. And it’s not because I don’t like Christmas, which I do, but what if I wanted to get away from it? Could I?
Cities compete to have the tallest Christmas tree, to have the most illuminated streets, to have the most light bulbs, etc. What a strange competition, what a superficial rivalry. What is behind all this? The business of money? Possibly yes. I suppose that the aim is to attract tourists, to fill the restaurants, the hotels, to use the cars, to fill up the petrol tank, to buy souvenirs in the shops in the most commercial streets of the cities, in short, spend all the time consuming.
And if I wanted to get away from Christmas, how can I do it? Do I have to go to a Buddhist monastery for a week? Now Christmas is already a month long. Just like Black Friday is not just one day, but the whole month of November. So how can I be absent from my daily life for a month? Where do I take refuge?
This is the material part of my reasoning, but what about the religious part, what if you are not Catholic, do you have to celebrate Christmas? Well, I’m afraid so, because even if we are not Catholic, in Spain, let’s say we are culturally Catholic. Here, everything is determined by the Catholic religion, even school holidays. In the end, whether you are Catholic or not, it seems to me that by living here you are in a way ‘condemned’ to have dinner with your family on the night of 24th December (Christmas Eve), to listen to Christmas Carols in the streets and to eat the typical Christmas sweets. If you go outside, everything will remind you of Christmas and if you visit someone’s house, it will also remind you that it is Christmas. If you don’t have a nativity scene or a tree in your house, you’re a freak. And what about the typical greeting: “Merry Christmas”, everyone will say it to you, reminding you that, whether you like it or not, Christmas is a cultural thing and you have to accept it.
The following come to mind, many immigrants who come from other countries and who live in Spain, what will they think of the Spanish Christmas? Will they also go to the Christmas markets where year after year they always sell the same things? I suppose so, they will celebrate it like the Spaniards and they will see it more as a tradition than as a religious festivity, or perhaps they will see it as a time for vacations, because vacations are always necessary and more than deserved!
Paqui Espín Corbalán
Escuela Oficial de Idiomas de Molina de Segura