My family, as a matter of fact all my ancestors, have been quite poor, hard working and proud. Their lives were simple and solid.
My memory related to Christmas , at the beginning of my childhood is not loaded with fancy Christmas trees, banquets and presents, but with that spirit of family togetherness.
We, the children, mostly the cousins, in groups usually by 3, made a quick rehearsal and during the Christmas evening and after that during the Christmas day, went carolling , from house to house of family friends, aunties and uncles, for our musical prowess being compensated with a couple of apple or walnuts. But very happy because we knew that behaving well and having good school results Santa Claus will come through he chimney and leave something for us. That “something” was extremely modest.
During the war even the modest Christmas became scarcer , replaced by deeper poverty, less food, and fire works made by bombing.
When the war was over and replaced by the occupation of barbaric, drunkard soviet hoards with their murderous, merciless retribution, the famine settled in as a new type of terror.
The new communist occupation , its masters, declared that religion is an opium for the people, according to Lenin’ s doctrine. Christmas was cancelled as being an expression of religious mysticism and Santa was expelled from our lives being replaced with a new, scary for us character, named in Russian Ded Moroz or Father Frost.
No more caroling – it was decreed – because the children might be used as auxiliaries of the enemies of socialism.
In its socialist magnanimity , the new invader had let some caroling to take place but only after it was issued a special permit from the new secret police.
We, the kids, did not have time to think too much of Santa because the hunger was the most powerful aspect of our lives. People were dying of starvation and Santa could not help. He did not have anymore any permit to travel there.
I was a lucky one to survive, thanks to Danish Red Cross who organized a feeding centre in my area, for surviving and orphan German children .
I was not a German child, but I was blond and quite emaciated . A kind Greek-Catholic monk priest protected me and enrolled me in that Danish feeding program.
In order to prove my Teutonic ancestry, he taught me a short Christmas song in German language (which I did not know!) and because I had a good voice, I performed a solo in front of those Danish officers and I also sung the very famous “O, Tannebaum” with others:
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum, /Wie treu sind deine Blätter! (O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,/ Your branches green delight us!) I never been able in my life to learn Goethe’s language but, after many, many decades I did not forget that song which the Father, in my personal calendar a Saint, taught me: Ihr Kinderlein kommet, o kommet doch all! /Zur Krippe her kommet in Bethlehems Stall /Und seht was in dieser hochheiligen Nacht/Unser Vater im Himmel für Freude uns macht. (Come little children, oh come one and all/To the cradle in Bethlehem’s stall/And see what on this most holy night/Our Father in heaven does for us.) That Catholic Father , who saved my earthly existence , after a life of helping those oppressed under communism, by the end of that social plague , in 1988 , was assassinated by a secret police and dumped into an unknown grave of an unknown land, therefore even he deserves canonization we can not find his final resting place.
Later on, still younger , accepted by my only country, Canada that is, I had a sort of childhood revival looking to the public celebration of Christmas, those beautiful many Carols and days in row the greeting of “Merry Christmas” which I was depraved many years from. For reasons which I will never logically understand, my Canada started to turn her back to our traditional European culture and, with a high-speed, justified by the leftist governments hunger for more votes only, this beautiful celebration called for century Christmas was replaced by a banal, lifeless, tasteless , moral colorless and nonreligious “season holiday” and the warm “Merry Christmas” was prohibited in public places, the sellers being instructed to say “Happy holyday” to the customers. Which holiday is that one is not clarified, but the official explanation was a very lame one : to respect other minorities who are not Christians.
I have seen some Turks arranging Christmas tree for their children. I have friends in Israel (and here as well) and we exchange in greetings, they say Christmas, I replied Hanukkah. People who declare themselves agnostics or no religions also decorate trees and houses for their children. I never read that Buddhists , Hindus , Zoroastrians or Sikhs, etc. feel insulted by our millenary celebration.
We pretend to be a very democratic society and proud to be very tolerant. In democracy, by definition, majority is one who decides by a free vote the way of the country.
I cannot understand our governments’ perverted logics to subdue the majority’s tradition to the will and disrespect of a tiny minority, whatever it is , in order to secure few more votes.
I sincerely hope hat we, Canadians, will emulate the example of USA who voted in power a person who, openly, declared “we will say Merry Christmas again”- and we will make the necessary correction electing in power a government, a party , who will bring back and will respect our traditional European values.
If some minorities intend to be against their assimilation into our culture, nobody forced them to come here, nobody will force them to stay if they did not respect our traditions, including our beloved Christmas.
Lets bring our beautiful Christmas back and preserve our real Canadian values, culture and traditions.
Merry Christmas to everyone!