This afternoon, CBC Edmonton played a story about a Muslim family from Egypt who are going to be celebrating their first Christmas here in Edmonton. One segment of the story explores what other people think about the family celebrating Christmas, wondering if they are converts or aren’t “really Muslim”. The father mentions that what they are celebrating is the social element of the holiday, not the religious element.
This is exactly what many “something”-Canadian families do. They adopt the social aspects of the predominant culture’s celebrations, while incorporating their own elements. In my home, we don’t celebrate the Christian elements of Christmas (though, if invited, I’d like to see what Mass is like for the various denominations that my friends belong to is/are like), but gladly sing the songs and I will encourage my daughter to sing them all. After all, singing the songs of another group can only help increase understanding and acceptance of others. This is of course reciprocated by my friends who participate in events like Diwalli.
So when I see things like this happening in the UK, one really has to wonder – is it really the duty of good people of any group to attack the celebrations of another? How schoolyardish or medieval is that? And it isn’t only that group, there are plenty of groups that believe that the way they believe the world to be is the only way to be. This is something that as to change (though it likely won’t).
So even though I have worked for the last ten years or so to improve education through integrating technology to improve teaching through improving communication, part of me is thinking we are missing something. I think what we have missed is sharing the songs and stories of our various backgrounds. Starting as young as possible and associating those songs and stories with positive interactions. In this way, perhaps we can increase the understanding needed within our society and create an inclusive, pluralistic world that might be ready to use technology to gather and share the songs and stories of people further away. With that in mind, I leave you with this song from The Irrelevant Show.