Religious/Secular holidays in America (mostly Christmas, split from the Columbus Day thread)

Christmas, as the majority of society celebrates it, is now entirely secular, on a par with Thanksgiving. There’s no real rationale for objecting to it as a holiday on the grounds of its religious roots. And I say this as a completely non-religious person.

And as a non-religious person of Jewish heritage I say that isn’t so.

Yes, the holiday has large secular components. But it’s still a religiously based holiday, and it’s still celebrated as a religious holiday by a very large number of people. Maybe not where you are; but certainly where I am, and everywhere else I’ve lived in the USA.

The secular components are what it’s all about now. The presents, the eggnog, the completely non-Christian tree, the Fat Man. That’s what Christmas is now. Yes, people go to Christmas service, and some of the carols are religious, but that’s not what the holiday is about, and hasn’t been for years.

You don’t live where I live.

That most certainly is what the holiday’s about, for quite a lot of people in the USA. It’s not remotely like Halloween, which is indeed secular as a cultural holiday.

I actually agree with MrDibble here.:exploding_head:

Sure Christmas started as a minor Saints feast day, with prayers, candles, etc. But it was no big deal.

But ever since Charlemagne turned it into party day so he could celebrate his big day with some religious trappings, Christmas has been more and more secular. For the average American I know, it is secular.

Listen to Christmas songs on a hits station, very few are religious, maybe a Silent Night, and a Little Drummer Boy.

Thanksgiving and Halloween started as religious days also.

Maybe I know a wider variety of people.

It’s secular, or even ignored as much as possible [ETA: it’s not very possible], for some of the people I know. For others, it is very much a religious holiday. And some of those make a significant point of it.

Same here. IMO, people who don’t see the religious components of the Christmas season generally come from a Christian background. Those completely secular components are seeped in religious history.

For someone raised Jewish, all those trappings are intimately tied with Christianity.

Tree= pagan
yule log=pagan
Rudolph= commercial
Frosty= commercial

Angel on the tree – Christian
Hymns on the radio and over store loudspeakers – Christian
Hymns at official village etc. celebrations – Christian
Star of Bethlehem – Christian
Manger displays – Christian
Angels in the windows and on the front lawns – Christian
Church services widely promoted – Christian
About 90% of the cards around here, in imagery and/or wording --Christian
Paintings of Virgin Mary on USPS stamps – Christian
“Real Christmas” references – Christian
“Jesus Is The Reason For the Season” – Christian
‘Say Merry Christmas, not Happy Holidays’ – belligerent Christian

And yet, growing up Jewish we had none of them, because they were all part of a Christian holiday. Regardless of their origins, they’ve been incorporated into a religious holiday and now have Christian connotations.

Many of them originate in Christianity, but they are not tied to it anymore.

I mean, seriously, Christmas tree angels as an example of the religious nature of the holiday? That’s adorbs.
There are as many secular Xmas songs as religious ones and they all blur together in usage, which effectively secularizes the religious ones into mere background noise- nothing religious about Jingle Bells or Let It Snow or White Christmas or Santa Baby. Just caroling, by itself, is a pagan tradition.

And the reason for these backlashes…? The secularization of Christmas. If Christmas was still largely about Christ and not Santa, this degree of backlash wouldn’t be happening.

Does it occur to you that your upbringing may have primed you to see a lot more religiosity in Christmas than the vast majority of people actually feel?

Yes, seriously, and kindly do not minimize me in that fashion.

It does for you, apparently; because apparently, for you, Christianity is normed background noise.

Yeah, the assertion that Christmas is not a Christian holiday holds about as much water as the assertion that Columbus Day is not a celebration of white colonialism.

Christmas tree angels are tchotchkes, not religious icons.

It’s not “minimizing you” to point out that considering holiday decorations to be serious, actual religious iconography is laughable.

For most people, it is when it comes to Christmas - which is kind of my point. That’s what secularization means. If it’s background noise, that even the nonreligious enthusiastically partake in, it’s not religion anymore.

The assertion is more that there is a Christian holiday called Christmas, and then there’s a secular celebration also coincidentally called Christmas, and that the latter overshadows the former by quite a bit. I’m not saying there’s no Christian Christmas. I’m saying there are two Christmases, and that IME, secular Santafest is the bigger of the two in modern 21st century Western society. And that the religious iconographies on public display are largely trappings, not serious spiritual practice.

It is certainly minimizing the argument. And there’s nothing laughable about it.

You’re floating in water that you’ve been in all your life and denying that the water exists.

For most people of Christian heritage, Christianity is indeed their normed background. It’s mostly other people who see it. That doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Try re-naming the US government-sanctioned holiday Santafest and see what happens. I guarantee you, it wouldn’t be pretty. No USA politician, whatever their private beliefs, is going to suggest such a thing in public; it would be instant political suicide.

That’s not the same thing.

Yes, there is. What’s next, calling out Elf on a Shelf as Norse Pagan iconography?

I’m well aware of the prevalence of Christian symbolism in modern Western society. I just assert that not all of it still carries religious weight.

I’m not “of Christian heritage”. I wasn’t raised Christian, and most of my friends growing up (and some of my family) were Muslim. Who all got presents at Christmas, BTW.

The presence of a vocal Christian lobby doesn’t really have relevance to the actual content of what they’re complaining about. They’ll object to the renaming - and go right back to shopping for those holiday deals right after. That’s the real Christmas worship. Christmas is the religious holiday of the Great God Commerce and his demigods Kitsch and Nostalgia.

There is a celebration of white colonialism called Columbus Day, and then there’s a non-racial celebration. also coincidentally called Columbus Day, and the latter overshadows the former by quite a bit.

Is anyone buying that?

I don’t think there’s any sense carrying on this discussion. That’s an utterly absurd comparison; and you’re claiming to know for a large group of people, who would vehemently deny it, that what they’re saying is irrelevant and that their religious faith doesn’t exist.

Man, you sound like someone defending their “Southern Heritage”.

I bolded where the comparison falls apart…

I guess not.

Not as absurd as thinking Christians worship Christmas tree ornaments.

I don’t think their religious faith doesn’t exist, and you can’t quote me saying it.

What I am saying is that when it comes to Christmas, specifically, their actions speak louder.

Speaking of absurd comparisons…