A blog update to wish all our readers a very Merry Christmas. For the first time in 6 years we are celebrating in the UK with family. A UK Christmas is very different from a Nepali Christmas as you can imagine.
This week we spoke in a church and I shared with the young people about a Nepali Christmas so I thought I would replicate that for our blog this Christmas.
Children in Nepal will not be enjoying school holidays this week and many will be at school on Christmas Day. As Nepal is not a Christian country there isn’t the expectation of holidays, in fact their school year is quite different to ours. In addition there is regular disruption to schools due to various political protests which means they often have to make up those days in the holidays.
They may have thought that with going to school it would mean they’d miss church. But don’t worry – church is a full day affair on Christmas day. Many Christmas church programs run for 6 hours or so.
For Nepali Christians they are so excited about being able to celebrate Christmas that they want to make the most of it, it’s not that long since it was illegal to be a Christian in Nepal. Also many Nepali Christians’ families won’t be Christian and so won’t celebrate Christmas – so the church is their family and they want to spend the day with them.
As part of the 6 hour long service there will be Dhal Bhat for Christmas dinner (Dhal Bhat is the standard food for all Nepali’s). They eat it twice a day, every day, it’s made up of rice, lentils & curried vegetables – so no Turkey.
Whenever Nepali’s get together it’s important to share a meal and so this is an absolutely essential part of Christmas for them – their national food. This is their Christmas tradition and having turkey would be weird for them. Also most Nepali’s couldn’t afford to have the huge amount of food that we consume, and waste, at Christmas.
After school, 6 hours of church and a huge dhal bhat I wasn’t sure if any of the young people fancied a Nepali Christmas. But one thing we share in common with Nepali Christians at Christmas is that we exchange presents with those we love.
The reason for this is that we want to show people that we love them and sacrificing a little bit of something we have to give them something they would enjoy is a great way to show love. At Christmas we remember that God gave us the greatest gift he could possibly give us, himself, in the form of Jesus.
For Christians, whether they are in Nepal, England, or somewhere else that is what we are celebrating this week – using our own traditions, or those of others, it doesn’t matter, but celebrating and giving thanks for that very special gift.