Turning on the Lights

Christmas Event for Pet Charity

A merry and balanced Christmas to all - Paula Manoli-Gray

Despite my best attempts to ignore any signs of Christmas, it is getting harder and harder to avoid it, so I will have to concede that yes, it is indeed getting closer.

I don't like Christmasy things too early, I think December 1 is a good time to start it all, but I do understand that shops have to start early because their competitors do, which in turn makes them start even earlier to get in there before their competitors… and round and round it goes in a cycle of not wanting to miss out, hence the date moves forward year by year!

Although I am not keen on too much Christmas too early, I do still love it because I have two young children and there are wonderful events in Larnaca with a real seasonal spirit. They love the whole razzmatazz of it all, and of course, using Santa as a behaviour tool is very handy! But every year I become more and more jaded with Christmas as an adult because I cannot stand the way it is being made into a secular celebration, like people are embarrassed to acknowledge that it is a Christian celebration to honour the birth of Christ. Even my writing it here may make some people uncomfortable, but if that sounds like you then you shouldn't be jumping on the bandwagon of Christmas and using it as an excuse for presents, gluttony and parties. There, I said it!

In truth, Christmas has now become a commercial holiday for excess and nothing more; the shops rub their hands with glee, the bars and restaurants rub their hands with glee, the supermarkets can bring out whole new ranges to cash in on, and it just reeks of greed, materialism and hedonism with a flip side of stress and feelings of inadequacy.

Personally, I partake in and enjoy the ritual of giving gifts, the social gatherings and the seasonal foods, but I am careful to balance out stories of Santa leaving stockings with the nativity story for my children, and I do remind them why it is Christmas and what it means, whilst still embracing the other elements of it. I don't deny that for some, Christmas is a welcome break from the norm, as it always brings cheer and a message of hope and positivity – and a chance to let out steam at parties too – but we need to balance it out and ensure that we do at least acknowledge the 'reason for the season'.

Cyprus' main religion is Greek Orthodox, so Christmas for many on the island is still about it's original meaning; as is Easter, but every Christmas we read stories from the UK press about how the nativity play is not allowed in case it offends non-Christian children and parents and many cards use the terms 'happy holidays' or 'season's greetings' instead of the word 'Christmas' for the same reason.

Like many things that Cyprus still does right (as hard as it may be for some to believe!), I hope my little island is strong enough to maintain its faith for its religious celebrations too because I can honestly see children in generations to come not having a clue who Joseph, Mary and Jesus are, just as we no longer have a clue why Halloween exists. Do YOU know the reason for Halloween?

First appeared in The Cyprus Weekly 21/11/14

Classic opera concert “THE MAGIC OF OPERA”

On 21 of November 2014 in Limassol (Theatre RIALTO) at 7 p.m. Moscow academic Musical theatre named after Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko, one of the leading musical theatres of Russia, presents Classic opera concert "THE MAGIC OF OPERA".

The gold voices of the theatre Natalia Petrozhitskaya (Soprano) and Dmitry Zuev (Baritone) – are participants of numerous prestigious International festivals and Vocal Competitions.

The most demanding public will be pleased of the concert program:
• Rossini, "The Barber of Seville" (Figaro's Aria)
• Bellini, "Norma" (Casta Diva)
• Mozart "Don Giovanni" (Duet of don Giovanni and Zerlina, 3rd Donna Elvira's Aria, "Champagne Aria")
• Puccini, "Gianni Schicchi" (Lauretta's Aria "O mio babbino caro", Aria Gianni Schicchi)
• Leoncavallo, "I Pagliacci" (Duet of Silvio and Nedda)
• Rachmaninoff (Prelude)
• Tchaikovsky, "The Queen of spades" ( Liza's Aria "Where from these tears", Aria of Prince Yeletsky)
• Tchaikovsky "Eugene Onegin" (The Final scene).

Piano accompaniment by Antonina Kadobnova (principal concertmaster of the Tchaikovsky Moscow State Concervatory).

Duration of concert - 2 hour with interval.
Recommended age - 12 +.
Price of tickets: 20 Euro.

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