Wednesday, December 16, 2009
What Holiday Owns December?
When I talk about religion and Christmas I can already here the shouts of Grinch and Bah Humbug. It's not that I dislike the holiday season it's that there are more than one holiday during this festive time of year. The Christians, especially the members of the Advent Conspiracy forget that before Christmas there was Yule, Chanukah and sometimes Ramadan. In fact Christmas was purposely made a holiday in December to coincide with the pagan festival of Yule.
Yule is the celebration of the winter solstice, the longest night of the year. The Goddess gives birth to the God. The Sun represents the God reborn. Fires are lit to welcome him. The ancient Pagans had rituals to hasten the end of winter and bring in the spring when nature’s bounty would, again, prevail. The day is a reminder that death isn’t final; there will be rebirth.
Chanukah or Hanukkah from the Hebrew word for "dedication" or "consecration", marks the re dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem after its desecration by the forces of the King of Syria Antiochus IV Epiphanes and commemorates the "miracle of the container of oil". According to the Talmud, at the re-dedication following the victory of the Maccabees over the Seleucid Empire, there was only enough consecrated olive oil to fuel the eternal flame in the Temple for one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days, which was the length of time it took to press, prepare and consecrate fresh olive oil.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is the Islamic month of fasting, in which Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, and indulging in anything that is in excess, from dawn until sunset. During Ramadan, Muslims ask forgiveness for past sins, pray for guidance and help in refraining from everyday evils, and try to purify themselves through self-restraint and good deeds. Ramadan is not always in December, in fact the dates of Ramadan vary, moving forward about ten days each year as it is a moving holiday depending on the moon. But I did not want to forget this very important holiday on the Muslim calendar.
Also we have Kwanzaa, which is our newest of December holidays debuting in 1966.
Kwanzaa, is a week-long celebration held in the United States honoring African heritage and culture. It is marked by participants lighting a candle holder called a kinara. It is observed from December 26 to January 1 each year, primarily in the United States. There are seven days of celebration, featuring activities such as candle-lighting culminating in a feast and gift giving.
So you see, Christmas is not the only celebration in December.
The Colorado-based Focus on the Family is continuing its Stand for Christmas campaign to highlight the offenses of Christmas-denying retailers. According to its website, because "citizens across the nation were growing dissatisfied with the tendency of corporations to omit references to Christmas from holiday promotions. (See TIME's photoessay "Have a Very Ridiculous Christmas.")
This time of year, understanding and tolerance should be the hallmark of the season. But all around us we see more and more people being ignorant and rude in the malls. being caught up in buying that special gift for their spoiled child who already has more than they should.
When I wish someone a Happy Holiday, I am being genuine. It's not because I am anti-Christian it is just that I do not want to exclude anyone with my good tidings.
I do not expect someone to scoff at me because I did not wish them Merry Christmas. But it happens, especially in the small minded town in which I currently reside. They actually get angry and try to correct you with their Merry Christmas. And really who is actually merry?
So, during this holiday season I'd like to wish everyone who take the time to read my blog a thank you and Happy Holidays!