Sat, 20 Apr, 2024

Should We Celebrate Christmas?

By Osheen Shrestha

Dec. 25 was declared a national holiday for Christmas following the declaration of Nepal as a secular state by the Interim Parliament in 2007. It has been about eight years that the Nepal government has been giving a public holiday in Christmas. But recently, KP Sharma Oli - led government removed Christmas from the calendar of national celebration. One of the concerned authority from Home Affairs, Shakti Basnet said, “We are forced to take such a decision not to hurt Christians but to control the rising number of public holidays. At the same time, we are ready to provide leave for Christians working for the government.” From the above statement, it is clear that the government made its decision under pressure and there is no anti-Christian tendencies or conspiracy. Well, it was very thoughtful of them to mention “pressure,” but we are not unaware of the situation. Neither the citizen has claimed against rising number of public holiday nor any organization. So from where is the pressure coming? Hence, we can assume that it is given and taken by themselves. So, is it that they are against the rise of Christianity? Or is it because they want our religion to remain in the country despite Nepal being declared a secular state? It seems that they are under pressure. The government just cannot go against Christianity directly, and on the other hand, they want to protect their religion as well. It seems that government cannot do anything about the situation. Since Nepal is a secular country, it will be unreasonable for them to go against any religion. Therefore, only Nepali citizen can protect their religion, culture, and custom. It is not possible to protect our religion by following other’s religion. Is it? We can protect it by sticking with our norms and values. We are the one who should feel responsible for protecting our religion and culture. If we won’t, who would? Many Christian people are defending their norms and values. I think that Nepali people shouldn’t feel responsible for protecting it. Instead, they should protect their own. Nepal is our motherland. The religion, customs, norm, and values are jewelry that makes our mother unique and beautiful. We are her children, and it is our duty to protect our mother’s jewelry. Well, some people may think that they can replace it, but they have forgotten that those jewelry are the one that makes our motherland unique and beautiful. People talk about freedom of their rights, but they forget about their duties and responsibilities. They have full right to select any religion they want but what about the responsibilities that they have by birth. It’s our job to protect our norms and values. Well, I know the basic idea of why people celebrate Christmas, on which day it is celebrated and who do Christian people worship but I don’t have any idea for what did Jesus sacrifice? Or why even it is important? Well, I think one should know about it. Right? I am sure that none of the Nepali people even tried to get those answers before joining Christianity. The majority of Nepali people chose Christianity because they were lured by the facilities provided for being a Christian. On the other hand, in Hindu religion, there are lots of festivals that people have to celebrate which is an economic burden. But in the Christian faith, they celebrate the one and only festival Christmas. I would be happy and respect their decision if they would have at least known about the path or good thing that were taught by Jesus before choosing their religion. For Rev CB Gahatraj, secretary general of the National Federation of Christians, "Christians do not just work for the government. If Christmas is not a national holiday, the workers of the private sector will not be able to celebrate it. The Government recognizes 83 festivities for Hindus and other communities, but none for Christians." There are lots of Nepali people in foreign countries. Many of them are the permanent citizens of that country. Do they get a public holiday for celebrating Dashain and Tihar? No, they don’t. Do they protest to the government for a public holiday? No. So, why only Nepali government should feel responsible to declare a holiday on Christmas. Only about 1.5 percent of the population in Nepal represent Catholics and Protestants. It is unreasonable to declare a public holiday. One may argue that we must respect all religion but are the Christian respecting ours? Do Nepali people living aboard get a holiday on Dashain and Tihar? No. The foreign governments are all protecting their religion and do not give much importance to other faiths. We have to do the same.