Thursday, November 12, 2015

Enough Already

Have you ever had one of those days when you didn't feel like doing anything? Sure. I'm having one of those days today. It doesn't help that when I turn on the news, it looks like the world has gone nuts. I mean, really. People upset about a paper cup's colors at a popular coffee shop chain?  That coffee shop can do whatever they like with their paper cups that will be tossed in the trash anyway after use. I know, I know. The people upset about the cup see it as an attack on Christmas. Really?

Apparently I haven't been paying close enough attention to a movement to ban the expression "Happy Holidays" in favor of "Merry Christmas." The people behind this movement, I believe, are the same people against the new coffee shop cup. They are adamant that Christmas is a national holiday and it's sacrilege to not celebrate it in the way that they believe it should be celebrated.  Really?

Jose Luis Pelaez via Getty Images/
First of all, Christmas is not America's holiday. It belongs to any person who is Christian and wants to celebrate it. Christmas is a high holy Christian holiday. However, in this meaning, it's not as, shall we say, popular as its "secular" meaning, i.e. Santa Claus, reindeer, the North Pole, presents, sugar plum fairies, snowflakes, festive decorated Christmas trees and wreaths, etc. Retail companies LOVE this holiday because it is a gift-giving one, and people tend to spend a LOT of money, often more than they can afford giving the credit card companies a win, on those gifts.

Second, Christmas is not the only holiday in December each year. Hello, people!  Stop betraying your ignorance by focusing only on Christmas.  "Happy Holidays" is a totally appropriate expression for this time of year.  What are the other holidays?

The Winter Solstice: This is a very old holiday that involves so-called pagan beliefs and rituals. These beliefs and rituals involve evergreen trees, wreaths, and boughs decorating a home in celebration of the longest night of the year and the beginning of the end of winter as the sun begins its journey to the spring equinox and summer solstice. This holiday continues to be celebrated by some people, and is known as "Yule."

Hanukkah: Also known as The Festival of Lights, this Jewish holiday is in celebration of the re-dedication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid
Menorah by Gil Dekel
Empire of the 2nd century BC. The celebration includes lighting the candles of the Menorah over eight days, playing with dreidls, and eating oil-based foods like latkes.

Kwanzaa: This holiday celebrates African-American heritage, unity and culture over a week from December 26 to January 1. It ends with a feast and gift-giving. African-Americans decorate their homes with African art, play African music and dance, share African foods and drink. They focus on the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa and its symbols.

Kwanzaa Celebration

Mawlid: This Muslim holiday celebrates the birth of the Prophet Muhammad on the 12th day of Rabi' al-awwal, the third month in the Islamic calendar. This year, this holiday falls in December, and usually is celebrated in either November or December. Mawlid is celebrated with large parades, and homes or mosques are decorated. Charity and food is distributed, and stories about the life of Muhammad are narrated with recitation of poetry by children.

Mawlid Procession in Bangladesh

So, folks, Christmas is not the only holiday celebrated in December in America.  The folks who celebrate these other holidays enjoy the freedom to do so in this country, and it is against the law to discriminate against them. Each American has the choice to worship and freedom of religion.  By saying "Happy Holidays" during December, especially to people one does not know well, one can demonstrate respect for all the holidays during this month. This expression is not against Christmas but includes it.

For those people who get their underwear twisted when another holiday is celebrated during this time, or who think having a plain red coffee cup is an attack against Christmas, I have one thing to say: your ire is misplaced. There are far more important things in this world to get angry about and take action against.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great article! If you need a fun Hanukkah gift. Amazon is selling the Hanukkah TickleMe Plant Gift box . In it you can easily grow a real Hanukkah plant that closes its leaves and lowers its branches when you Tickle it! Plant 8 seeds to form a Hanukkah bush that moves when Tickled or when blown a kiss!