The Slovenia Times

Traditions Change



As soon as the calendar is turned to November, big department stores start putting up Christmas decoration and reminding us that the time of festivity is coming so we better grab our credit cards and trolleys and get ready for the holiday shopping season. It was not always like that though. The expectation of the holiday was more intense because the time was shorter, there were fewer shopping centres (well none, actually) dictating sentiments and how, what and when we ought to feel about the holidays. And last but not least, gifts, if any, were smaller. It has all changed overnight, or so it seems. Nowadays, we are so busy shopping, planning, decorating that we are too burnt out when the big day comes to actually enjoy it. Where did the Christmas spirit go? In the past, the Christian background of Christmas wasn't emphasized and Christmas Day itself was never celebrated, which is understandable as we were living under communist rule. However, there always was a special atmosphere that one could feel when sitting by the fire, sipping hot tea or cocoa, and looking at the snow-capped trees outside. We are taught by Christian tradition that Christmas represents the birth of Christ, hope and a new beginning. It should be the time of happiness in the home and the gathering of loved ones. One of the most typical family events was to have a Christmas Eve dinner with good home-made food, to decorate the Christmas tree and make a nativity scene underneath it. Together! Going to a midnight mass was something traditional, and people whispering around the church, which was resounding with the gentle melody of Silent Night, and the landscape covered in snow, it created a special feeling of serenity. In the rush of today, these feelings seem like faint memories from the old days, the time before malls, frequent flyers, red-and-gold frenzy. According to Slovenian newspapers, going to Dubai or Egypt is particularly fashionable this holiday season. And all the media report on how much money we spend on gifts, food and decorations, some even including consumers analyses comparing Slovenia to other countries. The verdict is that we are spending more and more every year. As everything needs its time, let's hope that newly-adopted habits and old customs will eventually find a healthy balance.


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