This is how Turks, Indians and Chinese spend the holidays
Without a tree and presents: This is how other religions celebrate Christmas with us
Frankenberg. In the Frankenberg region, there are many people who have their roots in other cultures and countries. Christmas is not celebrated everywhere there. Here, some of them tell us if and how they celebrate Christmas here in Germany.
There’s no Christmas tree in the living room of the Turkish Korkmaz family, and no presents on Christmas Eve either. But the Christmas holidays are still a special time for the devout Muslims: "We use the time to meet with relatives," says Kenan Korkmaz.
"People visit family members, sit together, eat together and just enjoy the quiet time. We don’t have any gift stress, for example." In Turkey, it is not customary to give each other presents at Christmas, says the 37-year-old family man, who was born in Frankenberg, Germany.
Most of the Turkish compatriots living in Frakenberg would not put up a Christmas tree either. Often, however, on the 24. December an event organized by the Turkish-German Cultural Association with food. Especially for young Turks, he says, there are also "alternative evenings" in a shisha bar.
His children would have asked for a Christmas tree, of course. "We explained it to them and told them that we have our own holidays, on which there are also presents."This year’s Christmas on 1. He says that the "Feast of Sacrifice" celebrated on September is practically like Christmas: "Everyone prepares something made of meat, and the children get money and sweets as presents. "Of course, I have to take extra vacation here in Germany for the holiday," says Korkmaz.
Although there is no Christmas in Islam, the father of two respects Christian customs and traditions. "We are integrated there," he emphasizes. After all, he has lived in Germany for 37 years and doesn’t know it any different. So, he says, it’s natural for him to attend the Christmas party with his work colleagues. "Even with the children in elementary school and kindergarten, we do not exclude ourselves as parents."
For St. Nicholas Day, he and his wife sometimes bought the two children a chocolate Santa Claus. "You live here, you know the customs, and you try to adapt," Korkmaz says. "I accept that, but also hope for respect for how our religion is. Everyone should be free," he emphasizes.
Indian celebrates typically German
Harjot Kalsi is especially looking forward to the days off at Christmas, because that’s when his restaurant "Indien King" in Frankenberg is closed and he can spend time with his family and friends. The native Indian has lived in Germany for four years and since then has also celebrated the holidays as they are customary here. "We go along with everything," he says. That’s why there’s also a Christmas tree and presents on Christmas Eve. Food also plays an important role, which they cook for all day long. Kalsi does not celebrate Christmas in his home country, but he likes the German traditions very much. That’s why he also has his restaurant festively decorated with a Christmas tree.
The Wong family meets
Although Christmas is not a traditional holiday in China, the celebration has become popular there. The Wong family from Frankenberg, who come from China, also celebrate every year. "Even though we are not Christian, we have adapted over the years," says 21-year-old Ting Hin Wong, who grew up in Germany. Since everyone is off at Christmas, he and his parents Oi Tai and Man Fat take advantage of the holidays to get together with family, catch up and eat together. "Sometimes there is Chinese food like rice with meat, but often something Western," says Ting Hin Wong. They usually also have a Christmas tree at home and give gifts to relatives and friends. "We just enjoy being together," the student adds. They have also decorated their restaurant, "Sun Kong," for Christmas.