Fa La La La La, La La La La

Christmas_Snoopy_Lights_Tree.jpgI saw this article?on BBC online and thought I’d share it with your guys. Basically, the BBC did a composite of six interviews with people of non-Christian faiths and asked them how they spend the time they have off for Christmas.

The Sikh interviewee noted that during this time of year, Sikhs mark the martyrdom of the Sahibzadey and that it is important to remember thesignificanceof our holidays. Agreed.

Last year Anandica wrote a post aboutSanta Singh and the Khalsa Treeand explained how some families have incorporated Western traditions into Sikhi, to give new meaning to common symbols, but what about Sikhs participating in the religious celebrations of others?

The BBC article reminded me of an interaction I had with my sister about various Christmas parties that I have attended this year. She joked that we as Sikhs do not celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, and therefore I should not go to any Christmas parties. Although I don’t agree with the assertion, and I know she was joking, knowing the significance of celebrations and beingconsciousof that meaning is important to me. I admit – as an undergrad I did take issue with having a Christmas tree at work and once had a serious conversation with roommates about the same – my perspective being that the tree did not represent me and therefore I did not want it to be put up.

Although, myvigilance has simmered down and I have loosened up a bit over the years I still question the extent to which we take part in and celebrate the holiday of others. Some would argue that it is all a part of living in a multi-faith society – we share each others happiness. I agree with this. But at what point does benign participation in a ritualistic celebration cross the line into assimilation? Or does it ever?


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3 Responses to “Fa La La La La, La La La La”

  1. humbled honoree says:

    I was recently invited to the Bar Mitzvah of a friend's son. He invited me to the service at the synagogue as well as the dinner later in the evening. Our relationship is close enough and he feels that I have had an impact on his son that he wanted me to be an honoree at the service. What that meant was that I was to be present on the bima and was to open the curtain adorning the ark – the Torah. This of course was cleared by the rabbi – can a non-Jew be an honoree and participate on the bima. Yes he said. I, of course, could not speak, read the Torah to the congregation or otherwise, but sure, opening of the ark is an honorable thing and anyone can do it. It is probably a more progressive synagogue…I doubt I would be allowed to do such in an Orthodox Jewish synagogue.

    It would be the same thing as if I invited my friend to my child's dastar bandhi ceremony at the Gurduara and asked him to do chaur seva during ardas. Sad thing is that Granthi's would approve of a patit (in the true definition of the word) to participate in the Divan but would have fits if a non-Sikh who is very dedicated in their own faith participated in a solemn seva in the divan. (bait for more discussion…)

    I have been quite affected by my experience at the Bar Mitzvah. For the coming year I will try to bring as many non-Sikh friends to gurduara and help them feel comfortable and honorable and will seek venues for me to visit other non-Sikh places of worship while remaining steadfast and distinct in my faith.

    Where I draw the line…bowing to the diety of another faith, participating in rituals that don't allow me to connect with the divine – jalo aisi rit, jit mai piara visare (GGS – pg. 590, Nanak I, Rag Vadhans), consuming food or drink that is clearly forbidden in the rahit (kutha meat, alcohol and recreational drugs).

    I feel going to a Christmas party is far from participating in a religious ceremony or festival and does not cross any Gurmat line unless one participates in the heavy alcohol or drug consumption that is found at many of these parties. (bait for more discussion…)

  2. humbled honoree says:

    I was recently invited to the Bar Mitzvah of a friend’s son. He invited me to the service at the synagogue as well as the dinner later in the evening. Our relationship is close enough and he feels that I have had an impact on his son that he wanted me to be an honoree at the service. What that meant was that I was to be present on the bima and was to open the curtain adorning the ark – the Torah. This of course was cleared by the rabbi – can a non-Jew be an honoree and participate on the bima. Yes he said. I, of course, could not speak, read the Torah to the congregation or otherwise, but sure, opening of the ark is an honorable thing and anyone can do it. It is probably a more progressive synagogue…I doubt I would be allowed to do such in an Orthodox Jewish synagogue.

    It would be the same thing as if I invited my friend to my child’s dastar bandhi ceremony at the Gurduara and asked him to do chaur seva during ardas. Sad thing is that Granthi’s would approve of a patit (in the true definition of the word) to participate in the Divan but would have fits if a non-Sikh who is very dedicated in their own faith participated in a solemn seva in the divan. (bait for more discussion…)

    I have been quite affected by my experience at the Bar Mitzvah. For the coming year I will try to bring as many non-Sikh friends to gurduara and help them feel comfortable and honorable and will seek venues for me to visit other non-Sikh places of worship while remaining steadfast and distinct in my faith.

    Where I draw the line…bowing to the diety of another faith, participating in rituals that don’t allow me to connect with the divine – jalo aisi rit, jit mai piara visare (GGS – pg. 590, Nanak I, Rag Vadhans), consuming food or drink that is clearly forbidden in the rahit (kutha meat, alcohol and recreational drugs).

    I feel going to a Christmas party is far from participating in a religious ceremony or festival and does not cross any Gurmat line unless one participates in the heavy alcohol or drug consumption that is found at many of these parties. (bait for more discussion…)

  3. The educated person is responsible for his words and action, this thing is develops in an institute while education. The educated person is not just responsible for his behavior but he also took responsibility of other people.