As Christmas celebrations begin, we try our best to enjoy with our children the British holidays alongside traditional Eastern ones, which may not be as prominent in the UK. We all love the bright lights, Christmas trees, feasts and shopping associated with Christmas and New Year. We have found that the best way to enjoy both these traditions and maintain your own is to integrate the two, rather than miss out on one. For instance, if you are putting up a Christmas tree, incorporate the tradition of using mango leaves as decorations or even Poinsettia flowers.
Christmas gifts are also an important part of the celebrations and even if your family does not share in the tradition of shopping for gifts, it is still tempting. As Christmas day draws nearer and nearer, high streets and town centres become increasingly busy as people rush to buy gifts for their friends and loved ones. For many children, this is the most fun part of Christmas and if you would like your child to be part of it, encourage them to choose gifts for their school teachers and close friends – as they will undoubtedly receive a few from them too. The element of ‘giving’ is key in all cultures and nationalities and is an important trait to pass on to the next generation.
Sharing food and a meal with family is key within Christmas celebrations, as it is for Elephant Atta. Some traditions are the same here, for instance a common cake served around the world is a fruit cake. Preparation for this cake begins a month in advance when the nuts and dry fruits for it are soaked. As for Christmas Day meal traditions, they vary a little around the world. In Italy, fish is common on Christmas day, in Germany roast goose and red cabbage, in Iceland they serve reindeer with people ordering their buckets weeks in advance. And while British traditions call for a turkey with all the trimmings including, brussel sprouts, an assortment of potatoes and gravy, South Asian traditions include more traditional foods such as biryani and fried snacks that are prepared a few days in advance. If you choose to have a traditional British feast, include some elements of South Asian tradition too. Involve children in the making of fresh chapattis, this time using Christmas shaped cut outs or gingerbread men, maybe even using Elephant Atta flour.
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Christmas inspired ideas!