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Monday, December 25, 2006

Alternative Christmas

As Christians prepare to celebrate one of their most important religious dates, Chrissie Russell and Jane Hardy speak to people with a different take on December 25

Buddhist

Gen Drolkar (57) is a Buddhist nun and teacher attached to the Potala Buddhist Centre at Donegall Pass, Belfast

People often say the real spirit of Christmas has been lost and we try to reinstate it; part of my job is doing workshops on giving and generosity, which is relevant at this time of year.

All Buddha means is 'enlightened being', which could be Jesus or you or anyone else. We're pretty tolerant and say that if the Christian teaching works for you, good.

Pagan

Esther (she wants to keep her identity secret) is regional coordinator of the Pagan Federation in Northern Ireland

We don't celebrate Christmas ... it's nothing to do with me (she laughs). People often make the mistake that a non-Christian celebration means a non-spiritual celebration, but all the nature festivals have a deep spiritual basis.

We like to mark the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, which occurs today. That's when you'd bring a Yule log and evergreen tree into the house, to encourage spring to come. Full Story

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