Christmas in Colombo

Incessant Christmas music and santa hats abound in this rather tropical climate. Christmas comes early in Sri Lanka, and in full force.

But people are in decreasing numbers Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and then Christian.

So, why all the cheer?

(Please make it stop. It makes me uncomfortable.)

Everything is Christmas. In every mall, in many work places, in every grocery store, in cafes. Hop in to Java cafe, and they’re playing Christmas music. Want to go to a mall? Christmas music. Need groceries? You’re store clerk is wearing a santa hat. There’s even a store on Duplication road devoted entirely to selling Christmas paraphernalia.

Religion plays an interesting role in this country. You’ll see on buses a image on Jesus adjacent to one of Buddha, or a line of Hindu gods and goddesses, all brightly lit. Tri-shaws/tuk tuks are equally multi-religious. There may be strong overtones of Buddhist/Singhala militant nationalism, but it certainly doesn’t preclude the adoption and integration of other religions into the mix—even if they are only idols and partially understood holidays.

Now, all we need is snow.