Friday, November 20, 2009

Christmas in Brazil, a praying dummy

The arms of the praying girl move up and down continuously- part of a display at Beiramar Shopping Mall, Florianopolis

Christmas is coming. By late October the decorations have appeared throughout the West. Brazil isnt as bad as the UK. I guess the custom, imported from the Germany via the USA) hasn't yet grown roots. And all the winter references seem particularly anachronistic in summer in a tropical country.

Ergo, the displays that I can see, (apart from some lights hanging along the flyway near my flat) are in the shopping malls, and like the shops there they have the feeling of a foreign presence, as if implanted by aliens.

However, I suppose that, as Brazillian per capita income increases, this hideous festival will become more deeply and widely embedded in the culture. It affords a very obvious way to celebrate material success.

I am always puzzed as to how to deal with it. Part of me wishes to refuse, totally and outright, to participate in present giving or any of the decorating because it seems coerced and manipulated. But this approach leads too quickly to boorishness. So, with as little fuss as I can, I buy a few cheap things to give just before Christmas and help cook something special on the 24th.

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