Buddhist flag, corner of Baseline Road and Thimbi
I think Sri Lankan Christmas died with Soma Thero, in 2003. When that popular Buddhist priest died mysteriously on December 12th, the streets were full of Buddhist flags and banners. Then, of course, the more pro-western/capitalism UNP celebrated the commercial Christmas more than the current government. This year it seems, we celebrate the season not at all. Vesak is a much bigger deal, they’ve already started the blog for next year. I am OK with this. Colombo Christmas was always a bit odd.
One set of grandparents is Christian and they always celebrated Christmas as a religious holiday, and continue to do so. When we were younger they used to pretend some grated coconut was snow as a paean to the cultural aspect of the thing. But church and carols go on, and Jesus’s birthday still remains the most widely celebrated in the world.
Around town however, there aren’t especial lights or anything. I don’t think they even have the marijuana leaf lights around Liberty Plaza. Odel is Odel as ever, but the advertising sucks this year. I don’t think they spent much money. They used to import hot Indian models but now it’s just people’s daughters. I went to House Of Fashion and it’s not much bigger than usual. Honestly, you could drive around Colombo and not notice that it’s Christmas at all. This doesn’t bother me that much. I always thought the department store Santa’s looked macabre and, despite Jesus being born in the Middle East, Christmas never felt quite the same without snow.
Jerry has a funny story about what Christmas means to him.