While many Wagga families carve into a leg of ham at Christmas lunch this Friday, the city’s array of multicultural communities will be celebrating the festive season in different ways.
However while many of Wagga’s multicultural groups don’t celebrate Christmas with presents under a tree or a pudding, the day’s harmonious message of family, love and joy seem to remain the same.
For the more than 300 people in Wagga of Filipino descent, Christmas is not typically a time of gift giving, but is instead celebrated through gathering family together, dancing and, of course, eating.
“We don't really give big presents at Christmas time,” said leader of the Filipino Cultural Dance Troupe Bebina Curtis.
“But we gather all our friends and family together and do a lot of cooking and eating, as well as dancing and singing.”
Ms Curtis said food really is the gift Filipinos give each other at Christmas, with dishes such as whole spit-roast pig and Asian noodles being served.
While December 25 is typically seen as the main day in which to celebrate, the Filipino community attend a midnight mass on the 24th, before heading home for supper and celebrating throughout the morning.
For those who belong to the city’s Sudanese community, the Christmas festivities begin days prior and run right up until the new year.
Adviser to the Sudanese community group John Moi said many Sudanese people will spend Christmas Day cleaning, as a way to prepare for a fresh start to the year, as well as spend many days feasting and going to church.
“There’s many different aspects to how we celebrate the Christmas season: religion, bringing families together and also preparing people to look forward to the new year,” he said.
Even for those who don’t celebrate Christmas, like those within Wagga’s Baha’i community, the general goodwill and spirit of the day is still acknowledged.
“Though we don’t technically celebrate Christmas within our faith, we still respect it and see it as a time for reflection and for prayer,” Baha’i community leader Ali Jaber said. “It’s also about getting together with family and friends and enjoying each others company.”
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