As B92 reported some time ago and as the Guardian reports now, Santa Claus is banned from Bosnian kindergartens. Reason for this – it goes against the religious Muslim beliefs and/or Bosniak tradition.
Beside the bizzare fact of introducing religious teaching in kindergartens in the first place, this affair brings many interesting questions.
Is Santa Clause a religious figure? He doesn’t wear anything religious (maybe only a funny hat like the Pope). He is dressed in red – probably a communist, in which case it’s safe to say he’s not that religious. He is fat and round just like Buddah, but I guess that’s probably the consequence of a reindeer meat diet and too much coke.
The real reason is probably that Santa represents something everybody can unite around, and it seems that this doesn’t go well with national-romantic tendencies of ultra-nationalists in Bosnia.
This Santa-ban reminds me of the same hostility towards Santa expressed three years ago by Amfilohije Radovic, a high ranking priest in the Serbian Orthodox Church, and the first candidate for the next Serbian Patriarch:
“All European nations, both at the east and the west celebrate Saint Nicholaus. He is the one giving presents to children, like the wise man from the east. Only recently at the west, especially in America, Saint Nicholaus is being replaced by that lying Santa Claus, and they even started celebrating him here. It is an non-existing, lying creature which brings the European nations back to their paganic roots. Santa Claus has nothing to do with the church of Christ.”
Damn right he has nothing to do with the Church of Christ, Islam, Buddhism or any religion whatsoever – that’s why he’s so popular in the first place!
Funny thing is that Amfilohije looks a lot like Santa himself:
Here are some other Santa lookalikes copying his trademark image:
Serbian current prime minister Mirko Cvetkovic – actually, since he was pretty unknown before becoming prime minister, not a lot of people know his name, most people in Serbia really refer to him as Deda Mraz (Santa Claus). In the picture he is seen holding something that looks a lot like a list of Christmas wishes.
Radovan Karadzic’s alter ego, David Dabic. If there ever was a person to seriously ruin Santa Clauses’ otherwise spotless image this is it – a genocidal maniac running around with the real, long white beard and gray hair. Luckily, he was caught and shaved.
By banning the Santa, people from the Bosnian education authorities who did this proved that ultra-nationalists from all three sides in Bosnia – Croatian, Serbian and Bosniak, have two things in common – 1. they all really, really hate Santa, and 2. they are all really, really stupid. This ban would probably not last thanks to the outrage it caused among normal people in Bosnia and the decision will probably be reversed, just like after that Darwin ban situation in Serbia some time ago.
Last, but not least, if I were to find a one good thing about this whole charade – this fear of Deda Mraz is quite possibly one of the best proofs that he really does exist! Yay! In that spirit, happy holidays to all of you out there, regardless if you’re religious or not.