I've been having a few discussion on the internet about representations of Christmas in regards to what is seen as religious and what is acceptable as a Winter Festival.
Santa Claus has it's origins in Saint Nicholas, obviously religion. He was a Saint. Jesus in a manger in a Nativity scene is obviously celebrating the birth of christ to the son of God. I'm sure there are many others, but as I've said previously I'm not here to write about religion, it has just intrigued me.
The coffee shops, like the UK and I assume other countries have their Christmas takeaway cups out. They are also selling cookies in the shape of bells, trees, stars, snowflakes and reindeers. At Birmingham airport last month I had a Santa cup in Costa Coffee, in Dubai I had a snowman. Both cups say made in the UK. I posted a picture on Instagram to ask if both cups were available in both countries and so the discussion began about religious representations of Christmas.
In the stores they are playing anything from Jingle Bells to I wish it could be Christmas everyday. There are trees, decorated to excess, decorations galore, signs for winter festivals, signs for Christmas Village. In 2 supermarkets there are nativity scenes for sale, Jesus in a Manger and life size Santa Claus in the Garden Centre. There's even a Santa's grotto in several of the Malls. I took the dog to see Santa. We've decorated our house on the outside as well as inside also.
There is an assumption that when one lives in Dubai, it is in an expat community. That the local malls cater for none Muslims and that's why certain things are available in certain areas. In our first house in Umm Sequiem, our land lady was Muslim, we rented over the Christmas period. On Christmas day, which isn't a public holiday, we had workmen fixing some plumbing, she apologised for interrupting our Christmas. My Muslim friends will wish me a Happy Christmas as I wish them a Happy Ramadan. The new area we live in, half our neighbours are Muslim and some of the children have come over to ask if Bob the Dog can come out to play and to look at the Christmas decorations, while their Mother waved from her front door and said 'hello'
I'm sure I could go out my way to find someone who is upset by all this. Who would rather I and others didn't do the above, that Christmas didn't happen in Dubai, along with numerous other things like selling alcohol and pork products or people wearing bikinis on a public beach. But I'm not here for that reason. I'm here to merely show you how Christmas is done here in Dubai if you choose to celebrate it or not.
There will be more photos next week as we have guests and I'll be getting out and about further a field. We've also booked a brunch for Christmas day while we'll eat and drink to excess, come home and watch a Christmas movie on the local TV stations.
Google 'origin of decorating a tree at Christmas' if you want to know more about how this all started.
I must say I do think Dubai decorate their trees better than I do.
Jumeriah Beach Residence
Ibn Battuta Mall
Mall of the Emirates
My surprise find this year was an actual tin of Quality Streets like the ones we get in the UK with soft centres, my favourites being the strawberry and orange creams.
Other Christmas related posts: