An event where the participants and guests are dominantly Muslim along with Hindus set in the courtyard of a Hindu temple celebrating a Christian holiday is definitely a rich experience in cultural diversity.
That is the “wow!” factor I got as I attended a Christmas program for Save the Children India yesterday. I was given the opportunity to help distribute blankets as gifts on behalf of the AWA Outreach program to about 500 individuals, all children that participate in the education programs that Save the Children offers.
The area where Save the Children India is located is just outside the temple courtyard down the street. Whenever I come to visit here, it is like stepping into another world — one even more extreme from what I see daily. An event like this draws a crowd so one had to have a ticket and be an actual student or parent to get through the gate. This helped ensure onlookers did not flood the event.
Although there are not the sights and sounds here in New Delhi India that I crave at this time of year, I have come to understand that many non-Christian people here do celebrate Christmas in some form. I have asked myself why? as it is a holiday celebrating a Savior in which they do not believe, but have come to understand that for many of them it is just another “festival” and a great reason to celebrate. They are not necessarily out decorating their homes or throwing holiday parties but they do a little thing like give a gift or buy a cake. One of our drivers told me he celebrates Christmas by having a cake. (I have learned that a cake is reserved for special occasions only here as most people do not have an oven and the splurge of buying a cake happens only for special events.) Our other driver has a son in a Christian school so they don’t necessarily celebrate Christmas but acknowledge it.
Despite the lack of them celebrating what to me is the true reason of Christmas, I appreciate the efforts made in this community to try to educate and expose the children to different cultures and understanding the world better. It was definitely the most “culturally diverse” event I have ever attended and reminded me regardless of culture, God created each of us and loves us.