One evening this summer, I went out with a friend. We had a drink down by the river. After the late sunset, it got a little chilly so we both went our ways home. On my way, I passed by my favorite Pakistan takeaway restaurant and I decided to get some samosa. Sadly, samosa was sold out, just as almost every dish they served. I noticed that the restaurant was completely full and so was the Pakistan Burger restaurant next door, just like the Turkish restaurant further down the street. No free table left, families with huge generously filled plates all over the place, all over the street. Not the not most common »German« scene to observe at 11 p.m. But then it came to me – of course – it was the Ramadan. However, I still felt this was a somehow peculiar moment.

Yesterday, we put up our Christmas tree, a tradition deeply ingrained in me. But for a moment, I tried to look at it from a different perspective. Take an alien unfamiliar with our cultural and spiritual background, the Western capitalism, and our fauna system and try to explain: We cut a Nordmann fir tree, put it up in our living room, illuminate it with candle and/or LED lights, decorate it with all kinds of things – straw stars, hearts, glistening balls, wooden miniature toys, angels, and angel-like figures… We place gifts beneath the tree, some are brought there by Baby Jesus, some might be flown there by Santa Claus riding a reindeer-driven sleight.

I love this tradition (even though more the Baby-Jesus-type than the reindeer-believer), and I know the religious and cultural background and explanations as to why conifers live in our house for a couple of days or weeks during Christmas time. Christmas is a dear and serious mystery to me. But I want to point out: It’s not like we don’t have cultural or religious traditions that might appear strange to others.

So my Christmas wish goes out to all the people who decorated a tree these days, who celebrate the birth of Christ, to all who celebrated Ramadan in Summer, to all who live their own, completely different tradition – or try to live none, to all the inter-culturals, to all who don’t connect to any of that – may your traditions and thoughts be peaceful, and may they bring millions of little lights into the dark corners of our world.

#OperaRocks #DoPeace #TalkPeace

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