Today, Toronto hosted it’s annual Santa parade. One hundred and four years ago, it was known as the Christmas parade. Christmas is no longer part of the name, I presume because the first six letters spell Christ and, well, Toronto being the bastion of all things politically correct, has removed anything referring to the Christian big man. Christians need not fret at this absence: the celebration of the birth of Christ is apparently to be reserved in the privacy of one’s home.
No where to be seen this year were any references to Christmas. No silver baubles, holly or elves. No Rudolph, Mrs. Claus, the other reindeer, pine trees or plum pudding. No toys, stockings or carols. No yuletide glee. No wreaths, Christmas hats or tinsel. Santa did make his appearance at the end flanked by non-Christmas ornamentation? I suppose he had to show up since the parade is named after him. Perhaps that will change when “Santa” is inevitably replaced with ‘Holiday’ or ‘Winter’ or ‘Season’ or ‘Eaton’s Centre’.
There were lots of polar bears, clowns, lobsters and penguins. Cats, yellow dogs, princesses, hockey players, bakers and chefs appeared on floats. One marching band played what sounded to me like a Mo-town tune and others played “Winter songs” (whatever they are). I did notice a ballsy Portuguese marching band playing “O come all ye faithful”. That took some guts; I doubt they’ll be invited back next year.
There was however a cultural diversity marching band………….
Recent past parades were so impressive that one commentating host boasted that Australia had come to study the Toronto ‘festive’ and left so bewitched they have adopted the same parade for Australia. Good on ’em mate.
Personally, I have to admit I love Christmas. I love the tradition, the celebration, the historical reference and the religious aspect. But then again, I am Catholic. I disagree with it’s cultural extinction as I would suspect many others do, including my Jewish husband. But then again, real diversity and tolerance is not found in boardrooms, city council mandates and studies, focus groups or activist organizations; it is found in homes where real people live. That’s chutzpa!
So now we know what cultural diversity really means. It means no culture at all.