A Bright Shining Star: an Alternative Diverse Nativity

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It is December 24 in the Gregorian calendar, the Ides of the decimus mensis in the Julian calendar, and the Eid Majlis, 1410 in the Hegira calendar. A file of Hare Krishna bedecked in health and safety bright orange robes is chanting its way towards Bethlehem for a friend’s Bar mitzvah. The Hares: Hare Kari, Hare Potter, Hare Ramsey and Hare Hill, are hungry but happy and hopeful, and in celebratory mood because they have all achieved a special music award for chanting in the Middle Eastern Peace and Love Festival. Along the way, the Hare Krishna is joined by Ladysmith Black Mombasa, whose powerful earthy rhythms and mellifluous harmonies add counterpoint to the plainsong iambic pentatemeter of the Hares.  For the full inclusive experience, both sets of singers and chanters spontaneously break out into Haiku every 15 minutes. Notwithstanding the cultural differences, the Hare Krishna’s bright orange robes are complemented by the Ladysmith’s tie-died and plantain-printed organically grown cotton kaftans.

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