Celebrating Christian Holidays  

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I've gotten a lot of great responses to my last post "Are You Pagan? Really?" and the most recent comment had many questions in it so I am going to answer them in this post.


Here is the comment:
I can understand where you are coming from and agree to a point, but I don't think you need be miffed about it. Pretend for a minute like I'm not in the closet. I still tell my family Happy Easter and Merry Christmas. I give them Christmas gifts. I also wish my Jewish bestfriend a happy Hanukkah and buy her a Hanukkah present. I am not now nor ever have been Jewish, but someone I care about is and I will show my respect and love for her by acknowledging special days in her faith. She is not pagan, but will buy me a Yule present.
I still celebrate Easter with my family because it's FUN. Every year the whole family (2 grandparents, 17 parents, 20 grandkids, and 1 great-grandkid) get together and we have a massive blow-out, enter at your own risk confetti egg/silly string fight. It won't happen on Ostara b/c my family is not Pagan. They are Catholic. Does that give me the right to make them change the date? That's asking a bit much for the size of my family. Does that mean I should not participate because it's offensive that they are celebrating on the wrong day? Well, then I would miss out on a lot of fun and family time. Also, I know plenty of Pagans that choose to celebrate Ostara on the nearest full moon. Sometimes that can be weeks before or after. Are they wrong? If your best friend invited you to their house for Easter dinner, would you turn them down simply because it's not "the right holiday"? I think that would be kind of rude. I think you should look at it the other way, too. Would you be mad if someone gave you a Yule present, even though they were not Pagan? Would you be upset if your family was Catholic, but wanted to celebrate Ostara with you? Should their friends be upset because their egg hunt pictures appeared on the internet two weeks before Easter?

Not trying to ruffle feathers, just coming at from a different angle.
My Response:

I still tell my family Happy Easter and Merry Christmas. I give them Christmas gifts. I also wish my Jewish bestfriend a happy Hanukkah and buy her a Hanukkah present. I am not now nor ever have been Jewish, but someone I care about is and I will show my respect and love for her by acknowledging special days in her faith. 

My point EXACTLY. You wish her a happy Hanukkah and buy her a Hanukkah present - you don't say, "Merry Christmas" and give her a Christmas gift on Christmas. That would be disrespectful.

She is not pagan, but will buy me a Yule present.

That is nice :)

This is fine - you are not celebrating the holiday by giving them a gift or wishing them a happy Easter, Hanukkah or Merry Christmas. If you choose to buy them a gift or they buy you a gift, that is completely different from what I was referring to in my last post about actually celebrating something you don't believe in.

I still celebrate Easter with my family because it's FUN. Every year the whole family (2 grandparents, 17 parents, 20 grandkids, and 1 great-grandkid) get together and we have a massive blow-out, enter at your own risk confetti egg/silly string fight. It won't happen on Ostara b/c my family is not Pagan. 
They are Catholic. Does that give me the right to make them change the date? That's asking a bit much for the size of my family. Does that mean I should not participate because it's offensive that they are celebrating on the wrong day? Well, then I would miss out on a lot of fun and family time. 

Again, you're missing my point. Going to a family member's house on THEIR holiday is different from celebrating it on your own. I still go to my mom's on Christmas Eve for dinner and she stops over at my house on Yule. What I DON'T do is give my Witchlets presents on Christmas. We don't sit around the Yule tree on Christmas Eve or morning and open gifts; we open gifts on Yule. I don't give my Witchlets Easter baskets - we don't do any egg hunts on Easter; those things are done on Ostara. Visiting family on their holiday is not what I was referring to.

Also, I know plenty of Pagans that choose to celebrate Ostara on the nearest full moon. Sometimes that can be weeks before or after. Are they wrong?  

I know Pagans that celebrate Sabbats on a date that suits the entire group, so everyone can attend; but if you are referring to Pagans that celebrate, for example, Ostara on the following Full Moon instead of on the Equinox, well of course that's incorrect.

If your best friend invited you to their house for Easter dinner, would you turn them down simply because it's not "the right holiday"?  I think that would be kind of rude.

Again, visiting family/friends on their holiday isn't the issue. Do they have blessed food they want me to eat (Catholics do this on Holy Saturday) - if so, I might decline and no it's not rude. It's rude for them to think I want to eat blessed food. Did they make me or my Witchlets Easter baskets? I would have to say I would not agree with that. My mom does this and it irritates me. She makes Easter baskets for the kids and gives them to them on Easter. Why not give them colored eggs and candy on Ostara - the holiday they celebrate.

I think you should look at it the other way, too. Would you be mad if someone gave you a Yule present, even though they were not Pagan?

No, that's just silly. If they want to give me a present for a Sabbat I believe in and celebrate, that's wonderful. That is their decision. But don't give me a gift on Christmas. I don't hand my Jewish friends gifts on Christmas. I don't send them Christmas cards - that's stupid, they don't celebrate it.

Would you be upset if your family was Catholic, but wanted to celebrate Ostara with you? 

No, I'd fall over from the thought. That is THEIR prerogative.

Should their friends be upset because their egg hunt pictures appeared on the internet two weeks before Easter?

You lost me on this one :P

In conclusion:

I think somehow my point was unclear to some. My issue is not with visiting family and friends on 'their' holidays. I even said that in my last post: "I'm not talking about going to see family on 'their' holiday. I do that too, it's more of a tradition than a religious thing."

What I am referring to is this: making your kids an 'Easter basket' and giving it to them on Easter. Having an egg hunt on Easter for your kids. If you celebrate Ostara then those things should have already been done for Ostara, why are you doing them again on Easter? Why are you wishing your Pagan friends a happy Easter?

On Christmas, why are you opening gifts? Didn't you do that on Yule? We have a Yule tree every year and every year on Yule we have dinner as a family and open gifts. The tree stays up until sometimes the end of January (mostly because CJ and I are too lazy to take it down earlier) but on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning we don't exchange gifts. We do visit my mom on Christmas Eve and that is okay; she wants us to have dinner with her. People celebrate 'the season' for about an entire 2 weeks in December. However, we don't appreciate 'Merry Christmas' cards from my mom but she gives them to us anyway. We don't give her 'Blessed Yule' cards because SHE DOESN'T CELEBRATE YULE. As I said before, would you send a Jewish friend a 'Merry Christmas' card? No, you would wish your Jewish friends a happy Hanukkah ON Hanukkah.

I find it offensive that some friends/family don't seem to care what my family believes in and celebrates. They still give us Happy Easter and Merry Christmas cards. CJ's mom told him on the phone this year, "Am I allowed to say 'Happy Easter'?" and he replied with, "No, I don't celebrate Easter. Why didn't you call me on Ostara and wish me a happy spring?" (I'm sure I didn't quote that 100% correct but you get the point) Why would she? She doesn't celebrate Ostara? Right - but we do and if she wants to wish us a happy anything then it should be something we celebrate, not something we fully do NOT believe in.

In the cases where people are still in the 'closet' - well, that is an entire other discussion.  For those who have immediate family (spouse) that is absolutely another religion and  believes in it, then sure, it should be split up but BOTH religions should be acknowledged, not just one. I have a friend who is Jewish and her husband is Catholic, they have 2 children. The family celebrates BOTH Jewish and Catholic holidays - that is how it should be. One should not stifle the other.

Am I miffed? Sure. Why? Because to me this IS a big deal. I am tired of being put off by non Pagan family and friends who feel what I believe in is 'not real' for lack of a better term, so they completely ignore it yet shower me with cards and presents during their holidays. So, when I see Pagans actually celebrating Christian holidays, it makes me wonder...

This entry was posted on Thursday, April 8, 2010 at Thursday, April 08, 2010 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

8 comments

inannasstar  

again.....right there with ya honey.

April 8, 2010 at 7:33 AM
Witchy Mama  

:)
Well, with all due respect to my Pagan friends; I don't understand why it's accepted that our Sabbats are overlooked but yet it's okay to celebrate Christian holidays

April 8, 2010 at 7:50 AM
Wikked Wit...  

Exactly! My fella is very accepting of what I believe, my daughter Sadie is making up her mind and I'm learning as I go...so that's why everything is celebrated. Xmas has nothing to do with Christianity in our home. I even have a book of holiday origins that I use to teach Sadie about where Xmas and Easter really come from.

April 8, 2010 at 8:47 AM
Laura  

I'm completely with you on this one. I even go so far as to never say "Merry Christmas" or send holiday cards that have those words on it, because it isn't my religion. My family (parents, aunts, uncles, etc) are all Christian and most of them are of the mindset that I'm either A: going to hell because they think I'm a satanist or B: trying to force me to "acknowledge my mistake and come back to Christ".
I get pissed when they plan family events on dates that I would be celebrating instead of days they are celebrating. I don't mind going to my mum's for Christmas Eve, because it is her holiday. But don't plan a shopping trip or a just because dinner on Yule and expect me to be there.
It totally gripes me that I respect other religions holidays, but no one outside of my "pagan" friends respect my religious holidays.
blessings
~*~

April 8, 2010 at 5:49 PM
Trik  

Hi Witchy Mama,
I can feel your passion, hurt & frustration on this subject and can see where you are coming from. I also agree with the comments in the response to your previous blog.
I find it is very disrespectful and sad that any religion is ignored, overlooked or not taken seriously, especially by those who are close to you. I'm not saying that everyone should follow any one religion or be expected to celebrate any occasions that are not of their faith, but they should definitely respect the fact that you do.
However, I don't believe that by wishing you a Merry Christmas or Happy Easter etc people are trying to be rude or disrespectful (not all anyhow). I think that perhaps they are just wanting to share the love, joy and excitement that they are experiencing at this time and perhaps may even feel bad to exclude you from their well wishes. I'm sure that many people would love to wish you well on your holidays, just do not know or understand them.
Personally I am not Christian (never have been) and am only at the beginning of my learning & exploration of Wicca and Pagan faith, so I don't feel qualified to comment on how anyone should spend their holidays. But I would like to say that as serious as I am about my journey into this faith and lifestyle & whilst the Christian Holidays have never held any religious meaning to me and many of my family,they have however been more like a tradition that brings family and friends together and is fun. I will continue to celebrate these holidays with my family for the joy it brings both my immediate and extended family and friends. But, I will now have celebrations that mean something more to me on a personal, religious & spiritual level and will hope to have this acknowledged and respected. I hope too that my 3 beautiful daughters will find truth, meaning and faith from my journey and it will be something we can follow and celebrate together as a family, but of course that will be their choice.

Thank you for sharing a topic with us that is passionate and of concern to you and respecting those who have responded with differing thoughts.

Blessed be

April 8, 2010 at 8:04 PM
Ellie  

I understand where you're coming from. I can also understand where the commenter is coming from to an extent too.
I guess one way to look at it too could be you are raising your children in your faith, but your family is Catholic. It's their family too, and while you don't necessarily have to 'celebrate' with them, you honor them by participating. I guess I would liken it to an interfaith couple, you participate in each others holidays because of your relationship.

It is sad that they don't honor your holiday in return, but from their perspective they probably think they don't have to. It would be nice if they would give the same respect to your beliefs they expect you to give theirs, but alas that isn't the world we live in. It kind of sounds like a losing battle unfortunately. Perhaps all you can do is gently remind them every year when your holidays are. Or better yet....since they insist on in this instance give baskets for Easter to your witchlets, perhaps sending them an Ostara card or basket would get the point across.

I may not be making much sense, I know what I want to say, I just seem to be having some trouble putting it into words tonight.

April 9, 2010 at 12:52 AM
Zyon  

Seriously it's a completely stupid subject. If you are Pagan you do not celebrate Easter or Christmas in any form. They are christian holidays and have nothing to do with earth based religions. If someone blogs, "I'm gong to go celebrate Easter" and they clam to be pagan they have no value for their own religion.

I get very tired of people assuming we will celebrate whatever they feel is normal to celebrate. Why would I celebrate the birth or death of a man I don't believe lived? Ask me to celebrate Easter and as a "non believer" I will tell you what I think about Easter.

I also love how people say, "well what if they want to celebrate your holiday with you." Well, I don't like hypocrites anymore then I like Christia... If a Christian said they wanted to celebrate a pagan holiday then they don't have enough conviction to stand up for what they believe in.

Christians and Pagans are fundamentally hard wired differently and our beliefs mix like water and oil. So I say, Christians, go celebrate your God's holidays in a manner that obviously steals as much as possible from pagan holidays and us pagans will continue to celebrate our holidays that predate the Christian versions by a few thousand years.

April 11, 2010 at 9:38 PM
Miss D  

Ahhh I understand now! Never thought my ramblings would make it's own post...cool feeling. Things will always be a little for me. I hope that one day I can "come out" to my parents. I doubt anything good will come from it, but stil, maybe ONE day...
Thank you for answering my questions, though I didn't really mean for you to. Just things to think about, but really, I am glad. I understand better now what you were meaning. :)

April 13, 2010 at 11:50 PM

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