Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone. It was yesterday but I spent most of the weekend eating or sleeping on the floor so only getting around to writing this now. What is Christmas in Colombo like? The shopping is there, and the dinners. Perhaps one difference is the fireworks, going on late into the night. This holiday seemed more lively than before. Hope it was nice for you as well.
Above is the story of Christmas in video form. It’s basically a cultural amalgamation of northern traditions around what is probably the shittiest day of the year (with the least sunlight) which has now expanded to the point that my baby cousin-nieces are wearing small red bishops hats in a sunny country largely unaffected by polar tiltings. Kids still believe in Santa, but with the growing population, this is his workload:
There are just over 526,000,000 Christian kids under the age of 14 in the world who celebrate Christmas on December 25th. In other words, Santa has to deliver presents to almost 22 million kids an hour, every hour, on the night before Christmas. That’s about 365,000 kids a minute; about 6,100 a second. Totally doable. (The Atlantic)
As another factoid, the current cost of the 12 days of Christmas (12 drummers, six geese, one partridge in a pear tree) is around $100,000.
I have celebrated Christmas in the west and it’s a completely different, all-encompassing affair. In the tropics, Christmas lasts only about 2 days (as opposed to up to 2 months in America). It’s a family thing for Christians and a half-hearted commercial affair for Colombo. Everyone else mostly celebrates by drinking and lighting off fire crackers, not a genius combination, but the default response to everything from elections to the purported birth of a prophet child.
Christmas is also the season when expat Sri Lankans come down for the holidays, making it even more of a referential affair. I like it and I always look forward to the season. There are people to see, things to do, weddings, parties and events. This year its also been low security and low stress, a blessing in itself. So I hope you enjoy the holidays and the New Year. My best wishes to you and your family, and may the earth tilt us all towards good fortune and goodwill.