Twenty-odd years ago, I was at a small private school in Yorkshire, Britan. Christmases were huge things- a full Nativity play was staged, with Joseph, Mary, the Wise men and all the hoop-la, in a large hall not in the school. One year I was chosen to be the Narrator- I stood in formal dress (tie and uniform) on a sort of pulpit or something, and narrated the story of the birth of Jesus as my schoolmates acted it out on the stage behind me. And there was a good mix of non-English children at that school, I can remember- but there wasn’t any of this multi-culti stuff going on.
At my daughter’s school, Christmas was celebrated with the Christmas Concert. Each class was dressed in the clothes of some “culture”, and sang a song about that particular culture. So the class representing Africa wore bright red and orange t-shirts, and sang to a drum beat- Kwanzaa. The fact that Africa is a huge continent with hundreds of different countries, tribes, peoples, customs was conveniently overlooked. It was just “Africa”. Another class with what looked like candlesticks on their heads celebrated Jewish customs (Chanukkah?). And another had white and brown towels and teacloths draped over the heads, and sang about giving presents on eid (do we do that? I thought we just killed sheep and had wonderful kebabs. By the way- there are lots of different eids- this one was about “eid-e ghorban- eid of sacrifice). Unfortunately, they represented the “Arabs”. One class wore sombreroes and sang about “la fiesta”. Thank God, my daughter’s class did not make this mockery of other cultures- they put on Santa Claus hats and sang to “rockin’ Old Saint Nicholas” and asked for presents.
The Arab one was particularly ridiculous- come on- how many Arabs have you seen in Canada going around with a teacloth on their head? Of course, the whole thing was based on “respect for and awareness of other cultures” and tolerance, but as we all know, the road to hell (and stupidity) is paved with good intentions, and taking Christ out of Christmas doesn’t strike me as a very effective or necessary way of teaching respect for other cultures. Christmas is a celebration for the birth of Christ- are Canadian public schools afraid they will be torched by Muslim immigrants if they point this out? Do you want to gently rub out the whole of YOUR traditions and culture in the name of multiculturalism?
Sometimes, Canadians go on as if they have just discovered immigration and other cultures all by themselves. Get a life – go and pat the heads of your own First Nation people and leave the Arabs and their teacloths to themselves.