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Israel

I’m not offended…

…when someone wishes me merry Christmas or happy holidays or season’s greetings. I’m just amused.

Because, while we have plenty of holidays here, only the Christians celebrate Christmas, and not all of those celebrate it on 25th December. The Greek Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas on January 7th according to our calendar, the Armenian Church on January 19th.

When I lived in England, the day was special for us because it was a day off for most people. We used to spend it with my uncle and aunt and cousins in their house, and we always enjoyed it.

But here in Israel it’s a non-holiday for us, a normal day. If I went to the Old City, I expect I’d see signs of celebration in the Christian Quarter, but elsewhere there are no signs at all. What amuses me is the assumption by some people that the whole world celebrates Christmas in some way. So if I send greetings, I usually get the same back.

People who think about it a bit more might say, “Happy Chanuka.” Most years that would be suitable, but Chanuka came early this year.

Only one person replied in the same way as I usually do when people wish me a happy whatever: “Thank you.”

Today I went into town to get a new battery for my watch and do some shopping at the market. I took some photographs to show how normal everything was. Well, almost.

The train was crowded, as usual.

Light railway train into town
Light railway train into town

More so on the way back when it would have been hard to take out my camera.

All the shops were open, including the watch shop that I needed.

Ben Hillel Street
Ben Hillel Street

Ben Yehuda Street looked as usual,

Ben Yehuda Street
Ben Yehuda Street

except for the piles of snow, still there eleven days after the last snowfall.

Pile of snow
Pile of snow

All over the Machane Yehuda market, it was business as usual,

Machane Yehuda market
Machane Yehuda market

including my favourite sweet shop.

Sweet shop
Sweet shop

Back at the end of the light rail line, a bus weaved between

.
Har Herzl light railway station

the mounds of snow.

Har Herzl light railway station
Har Herzl light railway station

And I carried my shopping home.

6 replies on “I’m not offended…”

And I would not be in the least offended if someone wished me a Happy Chanukah either Miriam – in fact I think I would be pleased that they thought I was worth including in their celebrations.
Your snow is looking a little dull and dirty by now!

The way this holiday is celebrated is very variable. I was struck by how many shops were open on the 25th the first time we spent Christmas in Nice in the south of France.
Those of us who live in countries that call themselves Christian, such as here in Ireland, have to deal with imposed traditions new and old. It’s surprising to a non-believer, such as me, how few of those traditions have anything to do with a religious feast!
I’d love to visit that market, any day.

I don’t understand the offense when salutations of good will are shared either. It’s interesting. And I’m not at all surprised things are fairly normal on Christmas day if Christmas isn’t an actual holiday of import to the area. Things should be normal πŸ™‚

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