Holidays December 24, 2010 at 5:09 am

Working in an industry that tends to have a large number of people from various countries around the world, I am not overly surprised by the fact that different groups of people assign meaning to different parts of the year.

December in my household growing up was always a family time even if we didn’t assign special meaning to a specific day. Yeah, we participated in the capitalistic gift giving and we generally had a tree, but we never went to any Christmas mass or spent any time thinking about the Christian meaning behind Christmas.

I am in Thailand for the holiday season. Given my personal background it is interesting to contrast how at least one area of the kingdom celebrates the December holidays.

I lived in Arizona for a number of years, so the weather isn’t the only difference. Palm trees, sandals, and reading on the beach are a little different but nothing you couldn’t experience in Hawaii. It is late Christmas Eve here at the moment and if I was in the US there would be a high likelihood that going out would be almost a pointless endeavor. Many stores and restaurants would be closed. Here I will be dining out just like I have most nights and probably even go to a bar or two. Tomorrow the cleaning service will be around to clean my rented condo and I wasn’t the only customer on the list. Try that in the US. I happened to be in Miami on Christmas Eve after a Caribbean Cruise and had to eat at my hotel.   Only a few places will be closed.

Every time I go into the mall I hear western Christmas music. I find this amusing on multiple fronts. From a tourist perspective it seems to me that Eastern Europeans and Indians outnumber those of us from the West/UK/AU/Etc. I perceive it to be out of place in a country where Christianity is a minority. Seeing the tree’s and lights are also nice touches, but I really find the snow men exceedingly incongruous. Most locals probably have only seen snow in photos. I haven’t asked, but I also wonder how those from the east (think Russian) feel about hearing only English Christmas music. Yup good old Bing signing Rudolph has been “enjoyed” numerous mornings while in Starbucks.

I am certain that having another reason to encourage shopping isn’t a bad thing from an economic standpoint. Isn’t that what Valentine’s Day in the US does? It would be interesting to see a little more Asian flare put on the Holiday IMO. At least maybe some Thai lyrics to Rudolph or Sleigh ride would be an interesting touch! That makes me chuckle too. A sleigh in Thailand would be quite the site.

I also wonder how merchants handle this in Phuket. There is a much larger Muslim population in the Southern part of the county.

Anyway, I am off to watch the fireworks that someone is setting off. I am sure the “Gregorian New Year” fireworks will be much larger but I just have to see what they have for Dec 25th Eve.

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