I’ve been here in Jubail, Saudi Arabia for quite long years. The month of December is a tight fist fight among expatriates. Everyone wishes to be in their own country to celebrate either Christmas or New Year holiday, whatever religion he is believing. Perhaps not all wishes are to be granted by the bosses. Someone should be left to work as normal day to keep other guys enjoying the celebration back to their countries.
Saudi Arabia is purely an Islamic country. Christmas has no place in the calendar. I saw those flashing lights decorating some of the shops. It looks like holiday lights but they even don’t know that it was. It serves normally as lively decors to attract those choosy customers waving for them to visit.
There is no public displays symbolizing Christmas and New Year but we celebrated it in our own way hidden from the sensitive eyes of the authorities. Everyone knows that such celebration is never allowed. In there, stood a Christmas tree decorated with lights and colorful ornaments. There was a party according to our culture and tradition. Children happily received gifts wrapped in unfamiliar store packaging. Their innocent smiles didn’t even recognize holiday wrappers. We don’t want to skip those happiness from their childhood memory. It was not such grand or even not to be called as party but we know that the spirit of the celebration touches our every souls.
We visited some malls which have huge sale posters. What a joke! I was so surprised that they have this year end sale so low on the same day of the occasion. A shop galore to enjoy and silently ramp pretending that there was a rush hour holiday shopping.
We visited the seaside a few days back and realized that the place is so wonderful and romantic. A beautiful scenery where everyone has no time to appreciate. Beside the sea was a park for a picnic site and rows of restaurants from fast food burger chains to expensive grilled and steak houses. The place is so perfect for a big family because of unlimited feast options. Though not all of expatriates are allowed to bring a family in Saudi Arabia, but there are still ways to celebrate the holidays.
This is a place where a Christmas song sounds unfamiliar but I strongly sense its presence. It is…….. deep in our hearts!