Mon | Feb 18, 2019

More mass than Christ in season’s celebrations

Published:Thursday | December 13, 2018 | 12:45 AM

 

The Editor, Sir:

Christmas, once a tradition passed down to the Christianised slaves from their slave masters, has interwoven itself into the very fabric of Jamaica's culture. Many associate Christmas with the infant child Saviour who came to save His people from their sins.

While most have come to recognise there is more mass than Christ in the season's celebrations, they continue to celebrate it for the youngsters or out of tradition. Yes, more like fete-season. 

The Christmas celebration has been overshadowed by Santa in his Valentine's day suit, sleigh of helpers, sacks of gifts, as well as shades of family time and spreading kindness and good cheer. This leaves very little room for the Christ infant supposedly born in the dead of winter.

Even the Bible didn't mention the exact day of Christ's birth. What were revealed though are clues as to when he was born and winter is most unlikely. It's possible this detail was hidden because the issue is not when Christ was born but the life He lived and the example He left. So, whose birth are you celebrating?

For most, Christmas is a mere commercial holiday. But how is this profiting Jamaica? Who is profiting? Have we become slaves to Backra's traditions? What if we were to place just as much emphasis on February, black history month?  We could use the month to celebrate the life and achievements of our ancestors. We could also use the month for cultural events: school trips to historic sites; plays, and shows depicting our history. Special attention should be placed on teaching students about their past.

Businesses would have special offers and discounts all month long for slave descendants; symbolically cutting black people some slacks. This would also be an opportune time for employers to give raises and bonuses customary to be given in December.

It would be an ideal time to place emphasis on black unity and being our brother's keeper. It would also be a time for demonstrating compassion for the less fortunate among our people. We could embark on projects targeting those most oppressed by the side effects of slavery.

Black History Month then would be a period to buy from and support black owned businesses as well.  A time to reflect on the accomplishments of our past, examine our present and use the positives and our strengths to plan for the nation's future.
Just some food for thought. Don't choke on it. Chew it slowly and thoughtfully.

I am, etc.,

Janeen Taylor