I often get asked “Do you celebrate Christmas?”. I don’t even think about the answer and say “yes of course” to which I get the response “Oh!” followed by “but you are a Buddhist”. I could easily ask them “do you celebrate saga dawa?” and not sure what response I would get. This is why I love Buddhism as it embraces all religions and always looks for the common goodness in humanity.
I thought I will share a typical day for a Buddhist family living in the west on a most celebrated day in the western society. What do we do on a Christmas day? I cannot speak for others but my family have always followed the tradition and enjoy our day like any other western family and friends.
As Christmas day approaches everyone in my family always look forward to getting together for family meal and sharing gifts. Although we consider ourselves to be primarily Buddhist, we love the common goodness that all religions offer which is loving kindness, compassion and bountiful joy. Why not celebrate this day which is full of love and caring for family and friends. Many of my friends and family are not religious at all but they would still celebrate the joyous occasion of this special day as family get together even the devout Buddhist.
In the last several years we have been getting up early in the morning on Christmas day for the boys to go for their Christmas swim in the sea which is one of the popular local tradition in Exmouth, Devon in England. I am normally the bag man carrying all their clothes, towels and camera man trying to get the shot of boys among hundreds of other people which is not so easy to identify who is who. We still have fun even though the sea is freezing this time of the year.
We have our main meal with all the trimmings around one o’clock and then open presents after that. This would take few hours and after that few of us usually go for a walk with the dog. In the evening after some light meal we would all play some kind of card games or family wii games until late night.
The following day fortunately is the bank holiday known as the Boxing day not sure why it is called that and it is a national holiday in the UK and none of us need to get up early for work or school. After leisurely getting up we would have some picky lunch of assorted cold meat, bread and cheese etc.
The afternoon is generally spent relaxing at home playing some board games, reading books or playing on play-station or wii games. We often go for a walk with the dog for some fresh air in the evening.
This is how the occasion is celebrated in our household and this year won’t be any different. All that now remains is for me to say this, I wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year 2017.