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[YRP Students' Essays] The Intention of Christmas

* In 1956 Horace Miner published the oft reprinted essay, "Body Ritual Among the Nacirema" in the academic journal American Anthropologist. In it, he examined North American healthcare from the prospective of an outsider, renaming the United States as "Nacirema," or America spelled backwards. Young people were invited to write their own version of his essay about a culture they had lived in, adopting the voice of an outside observer and perhaps hiding the name of the country for the reader to guess....

December 25th is not merely a holiday to exchange gifts with close ones, nor to ornament pine trees. The true intention of this religious celebration, Christmas, is to celebrate the Nativity, which was a landmark in Christian history. Since there are not many that acknowledge it, especially in Napaja, it differs from how they celebrate in America.

Since Christianity is an extrinsic religion to Napaja there are not as many churches in Napaja as in America, so they do not have the custom to visit church on the day before Jesus' birth and pray. They are obsessed with the thought of attending flamboyant parties spruced up, and in town there are none of the figures of Jesus Christ that seem to be essential for this holy celebration. Furthermore, the main character of this holiday seems to be switching to an elderly man with a red costume and his red-nosed reindeers.

It is a paragon for the children in Napaja to wait for the red-costumed elderly man to bring them a gift while they are asleep, and they admire him even though they do not have a clue of who Jesus was. This elderly is said to be designed from St. Nicolas, a minister; however, not many children care. What they expect is the gorgeous dinner and the prosperous moment, which is precluded in the busy daily life. For this reason, the intention of Christmas in Napaja is to assemble and to feel the pleasure of a happy home.

Christmas is accommodated in different cultures just as humans are, and consequently produces differences in how it is celebrated. Napajas celebrate their own Christmas leaving the broad outline of the true intention of it, and enjoy it in their own way, finding their own intention of Christmas.

Child Research Net would like to thank the Doshisha International Junior/Senior High School and Shiori Tajima, student and author, for permitting reproduction of this article on the CRN web site.

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