Hindu, Jewish, or Christian, the holidays offer something for all faiths

Published: December 26, 2013

Leonard Goldman lights up a public menorah for the Chabad Jewish Centre of Regina on November 27, 2013. Don Healy / Leader-Post

RACHEL PSUTKA
THE LEADER-POST

REGINA — Arvind Patel remembers decorating a family Christmas tree with his children so they could celebrate the holiday season the same way their friends did.

Now that his children have grown up, Patel, president of the Hindu Samaj of Southern Saskatchewan, spent Christmas day much like many Reginans did, visiting friends and family and having a dinner together, but without the tree. In a society where Christmas is celebrated through everything from midnight mass to half-price sales at the nearest big box store, it could be an awkward fit for those who celebrate other faiths. But it doesn’t have to be, Patel said.

“We believe in being part of where we are living and doing part of the Canadian culture,” he added. “Even today, some Hindu families with young kids do everything like their Christian neighbours here.”

Steve Wolfson, president of the Beth Jacob synagogue, said that although Christmas isn’t a Jewish holiday, many families in the community are mixed faiths and celebrate certain aspects of Hanukkah and Christmas.

“Hanukkah is getting bigger all the time,” Wolfson said. “It wasn’t always a major Jewish holiday, it’s becoming more that way I think because as Christmas has gotten bigger, a lot of Jewish families want to make Hanukkah more exciting for their kids, so they can keep up with Christmas.”

Many Jewish people working essential jobs such as nursing or policing will volunteer to take on the Christmas shift, Wolfson added, and most aren’t offended giving or receiving holiday greetings.

“People don’t necessarily know I’m Jewish, so they might wish me Merry Christmas,” Wolfson said. “And if they were at our place on Hanukkah, I’d probably tell them Happy Hanukkah.”

For Samiul Haque, a member of the Islamic Association of Saskatchewan, Christmas is a time when his family takes advantage of time off school or work to travel or spend time together. This year, his two sons will be spending their time off school at a Muslim youth camp, and his daughters and wife will be travelling.

“For us, it’s just another holiday season. Even though we revere Christ, we don’t celebrate his birthday the way Christians do,” Haque said. “It’s of no religious significance for us, but we use it for family gatherings anyway.”

For those who grew up in a Christian culture but later decided not to affiliate with any religious group, Christmas is still an important time of year, said David Richards, spokesperson for the Regina branch of the secularist group Centre for Inquiry.

“The focus ends up being more on family, compassion, charity, and goodwill towards fellow humankind rather than on the religious aspect,” Richards said.

There’s no problem with someone wishing him, or he wishing others, a merry Christmas, he added.

“I don’t find any person celebrating Christmas to be alienating, no matter how religious their version of Christmas may be,” Richards said. “It’s somewhat alienating when it’s a public official or when it’s the government enforcing religious beliefs, but certainly not when it’s a person.”

rpsutka@leaderpost.com


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,





Featured

Dr Cabbie

Indo Canadian comedy Dr. Cabbie making its way to the small screen

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI This year’s Indo Canadian box-office hit comedy Dr. Cabbie is making its way to the small screen. Toronto-based Entertainment One, alongside…
Continue Reading »

desi fun food collectibles

Surrey Night Market will be ‘bigger and better’ in 2015, say organizers

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI The Surrey Night Market is set to return for its second season next spring “bigger and better” than its inaugural year,…
Continue Reading »

Surrey Food Bank-forensics

Surrey woman makes career switch from forensics to food bank

AMY REID SURREY NOW  WHALLEY — With a masters in bioethics and a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, Feezah Jaffer never imagined her landing spot would…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Dr Cabbie

Indo Canadian comedy Dr. Cabbie making its way to the small screen

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI This year’s Indo Canadian box-office hit comedy Dr. Cabbie is making its way to the small screen. Toronto-based Entertainment One, alongside…
Continue Reading »

desi fun food collectibles

Surrey Night Market will be ‘bigger and better’ in 2015, say organizers

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI The Surrey Night Market is set to return for its second season next spring “bigger and better” than its inaugural year,…
Continue Reading »

Surrey Food Bank-forensics

Surrey woman makes career switch from forensics to food bank

AMY REID SURREY NOW  WHALLEY — With a masters in bioethics and a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, Feezah Jaffer never imagined her landing spot would…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Avoiding relapse, inviting happiness over the Holiday Season

NIRMALA RANIGA VANCOUVER DESI The holiday season can be an especially challenging time for individuals in recovery from addictive behaviours. Holiday parties and celebrations with…
Continue Reading »

Miss World

Bikini round removed from Miss World pageant

IANS London – The Miss World contest, which has been an annual feature since 1951, will no longer feature a swimsuit round in their competition,…
Continue Reading »

sexi desi babes

Gallery: Wait for India’s Kingfisher Calendar Girl 2015 is almost over

VANCOUVER DESI The Hunt for the Kingfisher Calendar Girl 2015 is almost over. An Indian lifestyle channel will air the grand finale of the reality…
Continue Reading »

Taliban attack

Pakistani student who skipped school on the day of Taliban rampage ‘isn’t talking to anyone’

VANCOUVER DESI A 15-year-old student of Pakistan’s Army Public School  – which was bombed by the Taliban this week, killing 141 people, of which 132…
Continue Reading »

Sikhs to quit Trudeau's Liberals

Sikhs ‘across Canada’ to jump Trudeau ship

Nominations issue: ‘We are not Liberals, that’s for sure,’ says general secretary of Vancouver temple LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI A large group of Sikhs in…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Priyanka Chopra

Gallery: Stars come together for another big fat Bollywood wedding

VANCOUVER DESI After Salman Khan’s sister Arpita Khan’s wedding with businessman Aayush Sharma last month, Bollywood stars gathered for another high-profile Bollywood wedding that turned…
Continue Reading »

BOLLYWOOD

Film Review: Aamir Khan’s PK unconventionally outstanding

TROY REBEIRO IANS Film: “PK”; Cast: Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma, Sushant Singh Rajput, Saurabh Shukla, Boman Irani, Parikshat Shahni; Director: Rajkumar Hirani; Rating: *** 1/2…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood jodis-ex lovers

Bollywood’s ex-flames Shahid Kapoor, Kareena to work together in ‘Udta Punjab’?

IANS Mumbai – Actor Shahid Kapoor, who once dated actress Kareena Kapoor, has said that he has never refused to work with the latter and…
Continue Reading »