As I entered my Canadian national financial institution this morning, where my family has banked for generations, I was perplexed to see a large, bright, corporately designed poster, complete with bank logo and congratulations from all the staff, saying ‘Happy Diwali’ with Hindi script translated underneath.
‘What’s a Diwali?’ I asked the teller. He wasn’t too sure, suggesting it to be a Hindu celebration starting next week.
In fact, it is one of the most important Indian festivals. A deeply religious one. During the celebrations, lamps are lit to signify the triumph of good over evil. The God Lakshmi is worshiped and the demon Naraka is defeated. For Hindu’s this festival has meaning beyond the lights and celebrations, as it recognizes the inner light that each individual possesses and reflects upon the truths that exist within each soul.
(I must apologize for my ignorance on this subject. Most likely, my blog readers with school age children have heard of this celebration before, since many public schools have been observing Diwali in their classrooms for a few years now. Another ‘What the Heck?’ question for another time.)
I’m sure you can guess what question I next posed to the unfortunate teller…..’Do you think the bank’s corporate head office will design a beautiful poster for all their branches to display, saying ‘Merry Christmas’ congratulating Christians on the celebration of their religious holiday?
‘Likely not’ he replied.
Likely not? To that I must ask ‘What the Heck’????
Wasn’t my esteemed Canadian bank instituted in Canada in 1864 nearly 40 years before the first Hindu immigrants ever landed on our shores in 1903? Isn’t my Canadian bank offering services on the same soil as our Parliamentary Peace Tower which holds the inscription ‘He shall have dominion from sea to sea’ relating to the God of the Bible found in Psalm 72:8? Doesn’t my Canadian bank serve Canadians of whom 77% reported in the national census that they are Christian [Statistics Canada, 2001 Census], verses 1% that reported to be of the Hindu faith.
Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating for anyone’s Diwali to be unhappy, nor are my comments intended to start a holy war. I’m just wondering, (for a Canadian institution that touts fairness, equality and objectivity within it’s corporate code of conduct, operating in a country that stands out in the modern world for it’s tolerance, respect and religious harmony) what the heck???
And maybe I’m just not that smart, because……. I simply, don’t get it.