It's that time of the year when magic fills the air - a magic that heralds the beautiful month of December - and Christmas!
Christmas is celebrated across the world to mark the birth of Jesus Christ two thousand years ago in the town of Bethlehem in Israel. Although believed to be the "son of God" He was born in a lowly cattle shed, giving a head start to all that He stood for in His later years -humility, love
Jesus earned His living as a carpenter, but spent most of His time preaching the kingdom of God across Israel. Today, the towns and the places that He frequented have grown in stature and are considered sacred by both the Christians and the Jews.
Christmas celebrations across the world is marked by a midnight mass, followed by feasting on a grand scale. In the olden days the foods were traditional and home- cooked as depicted in the Charles Dicken's novel "A Christmas Carol." Roast beef or turkey and plum pudding constituted the main ingredients of a traditional English feast.
Christmas cuisine has, since, undergone a transformation and all sorts of food have found their way onto tables across the world. Time-tested recipes have been replaced by ready- made or ready- to- make foods such as frozen meat, crisps, fries and an avalanche of desserts.
The festival of Christmas represents values such as giving, sharing, loving and empathizing, above everything else. It involves acts of kindness and charity. However it is saddening that in many parts of the world people do not observe the day with the piety that it deserves, choosing instead to engage in revelry. There is a lot of false prestige involved when people compete with one another to splurge. There is miming of a tradition without acknowledging its true spirit giving rise to protests among Christians that Christmas, of late, is celebrated sans
Class stratification is remarkably evident while celebrating Christmas with the rich following all the trappings of a hedonistic tradition, the middle class enacting their part as "also ran," while the poor continue to wait for crumbs that fall from rich tables!
Those who observe the season of Christmas as "holiday season'" believe that despite the absence of Christ from the celebrations, His values are being upheld. Hospitality is at an all-time high and people who otherwise do not eat together are seen to gather around a table, wining and dining during the season. Also, there is a chance to demonstrate love by sharing gifts between family members, friends, neighbors, colleagues or loved ones and this may be seen as an excellent way to improve social relations and family ties. It is an investment of sorts which may be reaped as a profit.
The holiday season of Christmas and new year has been ear-marked as the most unhealthy time of the year as it involves excessive eating, drinking and, sadly, irreversible weight gain. People eat like there is no tomorrow during this season but what many don't know is that the weight that they gain during this time may be difficult to shed during the rest of the year.
Partying may be a necessity but it is a good idea to snack lightly before a party to avoid binging. It is important to be conscious about the food that is being eaten and not to indulge mindlessly. Another sensible thing to do during the holiday season is to eat healthy and to limit one's alcohol intake during the non-party days.
Last but not the least, remember the less fortunate. Charity begins at home but Christmas is a good time to extend it beyond.
Here's wishing everyone a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A FANTASTIC NEW YEAR -2013!