Christmas in Sri Lanka

My previous comments about Christmas gift giving in Sri Lanka upset Fahim, who vehemently denies that any such gift giving takes place. Of course, he also vehemently denies it upset him. But when he makes statements in a louder than normal voice, and being quite insistent about it, it tends to look to me like the person is upset.

Maybe it’s just me.

But anyway.

I’m not a Buddhist or a Muslim, and I didn’t grow up in either a Buddhist or Muslim culture, and I’ve only been in Sri Lanka for a few months, so really, what do I know?

All I know is what other people tell me – Fahim and the locals from church. So what’s the final word?

I haven’t a clue.

I’d hazard a guess, though, that it’s somewhere between the two opinions. Probably some do, some don’t. Probably some to more of an extent than others. Other than that?

At work, of course Fahim asks a coupe of other people, and they say "No, of course we don’t give gifts." This from other Muslims and Buddhists.

The next breath, Fahim talks about the Secret Santa thing at work that he’s being pressured to participate in, but true to Fahim’s stubborn nature, he refuses to join in.

Okay, so here we have Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, and who the heck knows what all else exchanging Christmas gifts at work. Hmm.

That would be gift giving, would it not?

As another comment, Fahim tells me that everyone does it because in Sri Lanka, everyone cares about what everyone else thinks of you. These people join in the gift giving not because they want to, not because they believe in the spirit of Christmas, not because they’re generous, but because don’t want to appear cheap, poor, stingy.

And another thing. Apparently, here, when you have a birthday, you have to buy the cake that everyone else gets to eat. Fahim says it’s all about take take take, not give give give.

But again, I haven’t experienced this for myself yet, I’m merely going on hearsay, so I have no real proof.

If that’s not enough of a disclaimer, I don’t know what is.

Author: LMAshton

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