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How do you celebrate Christmas if you’re a Buddhist?

I remember having a Christmas tree, or remnants of it when I was little at my Grandma’s house in Vietnam. I think we stopped displaying the tree after Communism so branches from the fake tree were stored in the attic. I remember playing with the stems sometimes.

We grew up Buddhist, even though we didn’t quite know or understand the religion all that well. We didn’t go to the temple on a regular basis or anything. We had an altar for our ancestors and for Buddha. We offered food and water to them and burnt incense and prayed to them. I wanted to understand why, but kids were not really allowed to ask too many questions so I never really understood the religious aspect of it all. I just thought it was silly leaving perfectly great food out to dry out and then have to eat it later once the incense were burnt out. Once we came to America, we always had a Christmas tree. I think it’s because it’s pretty, that’s about it.

I remember Mom also had a set of ceramic Nativity Scene displayed by the fire place for us to admire. She treated all religious figurines with respect and honor. I liked that about her. Mom says ALL religions are good and we don’t judge. You can say that’s a Buddhist philosophy. But I also remember lots of religious disputes preventing marriages…Very anti-Buddhist, if you ask me. I guess that’s a whole other topic. Until next time…

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