The Wonders And Worries When Traditions Converge

November 15, 2009

Author: Ellen McCarthy and Sally Quinn

Source: The Washington Post

We'll get ready, soon, to decorate the Christmas tree. Or light the menorah. Or celebrate Kwanzaa.

Ready to honor whatever tradition we hold most dear -- unabashedly filling our homes and lives with the spirit of the season.

Unless, of course, there's some domestic debate about the significance of that spirit.

Perhaps your atheist husband wants that manger scene off the mantel. Your Hindu wife is uncomfortable with the Hebrew blessings before dinner. Your Muslim mother-in-law doesn't want her grandkids sitting on Santa's lap.

The holidays can be a minefield for interfaith couples, unearthing disparities that lay mercifully buried throughout the rest of the year. Because the tree isn't just about the tree, of course. Like the menorah, or Iftar feasts at sundown during Ramadan, it's about family and ritual, identity and culture.