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Old 12-14-2012, 01:54 AM
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What are the gift giving holidays in non-Christian cultures and religions?


Christmas has morphed over time into a huge transactional holiday for Christians. What are the gift giving holidays or occasions (if they exist) in other non-Christian cultures?
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Old 12-14-2012, 02:36 AM
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St Nicks.
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Old 12-14-2012, 02:47 AM
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Diwali (Deepavali) in India.
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Old 12-14-2012, 09:12 AM
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Chinese New Year.
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Old 12-14-2012, 10:11 AM
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Purim was the Jewish gift-giving holiday, but for American Jews Hanukkah has taken on that role, influenced by its proximity to Christmas. I've heard a theory that Purim got its gift-giving elements from influence by the Persian holiday of Nowruz.
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Old 12-14-2012, 10:28 AM
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I seem to remember from high school Spanish class (and just confirmed on Wikipedia) that in Spain, the traditional gift-giving date was not Christmas itself, but the Epiphany, when the three kings from the East visited the manger.
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Old 12-14-2012, 10:58 AM
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And I had a roommate in college who emigrated from Russia in around 1978-80 (Soviet days, in other words). He said the tradition was to give gifts at the New Year and not Christmas. That may have been forced by the communist government as a way of de-emphasizing religion.
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Old 12-14-2012, 07:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
I seem to remember from high school Spanish class (and just confirmed on Wikipedia) that in Spain, the traditional gift-giving date was not Christmas itself, but the Epiphany, when the three kings from the East visited the manger.
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Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
And I had a roommate in college who emigrated from Russia in around 1978-80 (Soviet days, in other words). He said the tradition was to give gifts at the New Year and not Christmas. That may have been forced by the communist government as a way of de-emphasizing religion.
Both of these are related to Christmas. December 25th is the 1st day of Xmas, Epiphany (January 6th) is the 12th say of Xmas (like in the song). Americans, with typical impatience, do all their gift-giving on the 1st day of Christmas.
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Old 12-14-2012, 08:58 PM
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The potlatch of certain Native American tribes of the Pacific Northwest.
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Old 12-14-2012, 09:43 PM
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December 25th is the 1st day of Xmas, Epiphany (January 6th) is the 12th say of Xmas (like in the song). Americans, with typical impatience, do all their gift-giving on the 1st day of Christmas.
25 Dec-6 Jan is a total of 13 days. Which one do I omit to get the Twelve Days?
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Old 12-15-2012, 07:17 AM
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There appear to be various traditions:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve_Days_of_Christmas

Most say that December 25th through January 5th are the twelve days and January 6th is the Feast of the Epiphany.
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Old 12-15-2012, 07:57 AM
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Diwali (Deepavali) in India.
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Originally Posted by Jacki11 View Post
Yeah Diwali one of the famous festival of India.
While this is true, it is not 'gift-giving' in the same way that Christmas is, at least IME. There are no gifts exchanged within the nuclear family itself, and typically not on Diwali. There is a lot of exchange of gifts(most commonly a box of sweets/chocolates/dry fruits, but can vary) in the week running upto Diwali with the extended family with social and business connections.
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Old 12-15-2012, 01:45 PM
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Islam has the two Eids, with Eid al-Fitr, celebrating the end of the fast month of Ramadan, being the more important. Who gets gifts depends on the specific culture of the people celebrating, but children usually do.
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Old 12-16-2012, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
And I had a roommate in college who emigrated from Russia in around 1978-80 (Soviet days, in other words). He said the tradition was to give gifts at the New Year and not Christmas. That may have been forced by the communist government as a way of de-emphasizing religion.
I think it's probably more a religious/ cultural thing (Russian Orthodox) rather than politics.
In the religion/ culture I grew up in (another Orthodox variation), gifts were also traditionally given on New Year's . Having been permeated by more "western" images of Xmas, more and more people do the gift giving then rather than on New Year's day.
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Old 10-08-2019, 08:29 AM
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Sooo... we're now firmly on the "Catholics and Orthodox aren't Christian" camp? Or are we now using "Christian" to mean "American"?

Last edited by Nava; 10-08-2019 at 08:29 AM.
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Old 10-08-2019, 10:06 AM
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India is quite diverse when it comes to Hindu festivals and in many places Diwali is not the main festival. For example, for Bengalis (from West Bengal) Durga Puja is the main festival and Diwali is celebrated under a different name.

There is an established tradition of exchanging gifts (usually clothing items and toys for kids) before Durga Puja and after the Puja people take turns in visiting one anotherís homes and have mini get togethers.

Also to note that geography is a bigger factor in peopleís diet than scripture : Bengalis celebrate their festival with mutton and seafood while much of the Indian Hindus go vegetarian over most festivals.
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Old 10-08-2019, 10:42 AM
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I've been told by my Japanese coworkers that Japan celebrates Christmas because they think it's cool to have a day off and exchange gifts. It's not a religious thing, more of a sharing of happiness thing.

I imagine that they just copied it from the occupying American forces after ww2 and morphed it into their own thing.
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Old 10-08-2019, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by astro View Post
What are the gift giving holidays or occasions (if they exist) in other non-Christian cultures?
Also worth mentioning is that the first gifts given were by the non-Christian Three wise men when Jesus was born.

One of the widely held accounts says that The three wise men were : Balthasar, a king of Arabia; Melchior, a king of Persia; and Gaspar, a king of India.
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Old 10-08-2019, 02:05 PM
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Interesting how many of these seem to cluster around astronomical features:

Winter Solstice (~Dec 22): Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years. Epiphany, Hindu Dhanu Sankranti, Buddhist Bodhi Day
Spring Equinox (~Mar 20): Easter, Passover, Putim. Hindi New Year, Buddhist Avalokitesvara's Birthday
Summer Solstice (~ June 22): Pentecost, Corpus Christi, Independence Day, Islam Eid al-Fitr, Hindu Ratha Yatra, Buddhist Birth of Dalai Lama
Fall Equinox (~Sept 21): Harvest Festivals, Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year), Hindu Vishwakarma Puja
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Old 10-08-2019, 02:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim@T-Bonham.net View Post
Interesting how many of these seem to cluster around astronomical features:

Winter Solstice (~Dec 22): Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years. Epiphany, Hindu Dhanu Sankranti, Buddhist Bodhi Day
Spring Equinox (~Mar 20): Easter, Passover, Putim. Hindi New Year, Buddhist Avalokitesvara's Birthday
Summer Solstice (~ June 22): Pentecost, Corpus Christi, Independence Day, Islam Eid al-Fitr, Hindu Ratha Yatra, Buddhist Birth of Dalai Lama
Fall Equinox (~Sept 21): Harvest Festivals, Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year), Hindu Vishwakarma Puja
The Eid al-Fitr isn't exclusively near the summer solstice. It's different every year, as the Islamic calendar is lunar.
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Old 10-08-2019, 02:29 PM
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Interesting how many of these seem to cluster around astronomical features:
I thought they clustered around harvest times or new crop planting time. Maybe they are both correlated.
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Old 10-08-2019, 03:39 PM
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This thread was not bumped by Nava, but by a spammer.
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Old 10-08-2019, 08:15 PM
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Sooo... we're now firmly on the "Catholics and Orthodox aren't Christian" camp? Or are we now using "Christian" to mean "American"?
Neither. I think the point is to challenge the assumption in the OP that Christmas is the definitive gift-giving holiday for Christians. This is true only for some Chrisitians, or only for some definitions of "Christmas".
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Old 10-10-2019, 11:46 AM
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This thread was not bumped by Nava, but by a spammer.
I don't see any spam post.
::No gifts for Nava::

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