When the Christmas holiday season rolls around I do my part to spread the holiday cheer by putting cards in the mail to all my loved ones and co-workers from past and present. Since I can’t supply the world with gifts I find cards usually suffice for most, but there was one Christmas I remember feeling crushed. A girlfriend of mine who I’d known from high school called me after receiving the card only to say, “Sorry, I don’t celebrate Christmas.” I was stunned. What did she mean she didn’t celebrate Christmas? She had when we were classmates, but times had changed and with her marriage she converted to Islam. Christmas no longer existed in her world. Fine, I thought! I’d never send her another Christmas card or anyone else again. Bah-humbug! Instead I would send Seasons Greetings cards and if anyone made so much as a yelp then they’d get a lump of coal! Simple enough, I think. Can’t we all live harmoniously during such a harmonious time?
The answer is ‘yes’ in Dubai. In this Go World Travel piece on Christmas in Dubai the author takes us through the Wafi City Mall where she finds a 50-foot tall Christmas tree in the lobby and Santa’s Village upstairs. Every kind of Christmas design and decoration you could find or imagine from the Western world was in Santa’s Village. Elves, gingerbread houses, penguins and polar bears all hung out. Dubai is said to be full of surprises, but this was one the writer and even I was blown away by reading. Dubai’s majority are Sunni Muslim, however it is the only emirate to accommodate foreign minorities. Go figure. I never would have thought something like this, but the story makes it real and is an awesome read should you find yourself wondering how Christmas is celebrated in other parts of the world.
Perhaps I should even forward it to my girlfriend.