Cultural Tolerance

These past few days in India we’ve been celebrating Diwali. It’s the biggest holiday in India, where people decorate their homes with lights, make celebrations in family, wear new clothes, give each other gifts, light up the sky with fireworks, and the employees get financial bonuses as well. Looks like Christmas, doesn’t it?

However, Diwali is a Hindu holiday, addressed mainly to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and Lord Ram, who spent 14 years in exile. I had the wonderful opportunity to spend this evening at an Indian home, of a friend who kindly invited us to eat and celebrate with him and his family, and learn a bit more of this beautiful tradition that is so important to Hindus.

I spent my entire life celebrating Chrstimas on December 25th as the most important event of the year, and yet, accross the world, hundreds of millions of people have a beautiful celebration of their own in another day of the year, and to them Christmas doesn’t even exist. It was a lovely evening, and I loved to be a part of this holiday, that is so similar and yet so different than Brazilian and Christian holidays.

Every day around the world, 7 billion people wake up. Each one of them with their own thoughts, truths, and beliefs. Every day around the world, people fight and kill over religion and hatred out of a certainty that THEIR faith, THEIR beliefs and THEIR convictions are the right ones, and EVERYONE ELSE is wrong.

Why does human kind carry such this strong and intense desire to be RIGHT all the time? Why do people get so hostile over the idea that the world might have been created in a different way, and not the way they believe in? Why is the unknown so scary to most people?

As for me, it is less important to know how the world was created. Instead, what is important to me is good, happiness and kindness, that’s what I believe in. I wish with all my heart that everybody could just realize the beauty that is diversity, the beauty that is to meet places and people with different points of view, the beauty that is TOLERANCE. TOLERANCE. This is all I wish for this Diwali, and that’s what I will wish for when Christmas comes as well

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