secular Christmas for other religions question

I know Muslims do not celebrate Christmas (Christmas tree, Santa presents etc…)

I was wondering if Jews, Atheist, Buddishist do the same also/ not celebrate it being it has the word Christ in it?

Let me know if you do not fully understand me or have any other questions

I have Jewish friends who celebrate Christmas in a secular way. One because she is married to a Catholic and the other because she thinks it’s a nice holiday. I imagine it’s not universal among Jews though. As for Atheists, I also know many who celebrate it, but many who don’t. It depends on the person. I know Christmas is becoming a big holiday in Asia, which is heavily Buddhist, so I doubt they have a problem with it.

I celebrate Christmas. And trust me, no one celebrates like I do. Huge tree, the best holiday food you’ve ever had, lots of homemade drinks, stockings, the whole 9 yards. (Also strict spending limits on Christmas presents, and many that I give are actually homemade.)

My grandma celebrated religiously, so we all did that with her, but after she died it definitely became completely secular in my family. We make it about love, togetherness, and family. My 10 year old niece even asked last year why we celebrate Christmas and my brother explained that we celebrate because its a season of love and giving, but that some people celebrate it because they believe that its Jesus’ birthday. She asked who Jesus was and he asked if they could talk about it when she’s older. She said yes and they played video games. My Protestant mother wasn’t very happy, but it is what it is.

While there is very little recognition of Christmas in majority Muslim countries, many Muslims in the West will do various things to commemorate the birth of Jesus (pbuh). This can vary from small private celebrations, to Santa but no tree, to full-on Christmas celebrations that are largely indistinguishable from their non-Muslim neighbors.

Attitudes among observant Muslims toward celebrating the birth of Jesus are likely to correlate with attitudes towards celebrating and commemorating birthdays more broadly, esp. the Milad un-Nabi (the birthday of the Prophet (pbuh)). In many Muslim societies the Milad is kept as a holiday, and Muslim families will have special events in their homes. Celebrating the birth of Jesus in a similar fashion is natural and is likely to be viewed as unproblematic if one practices a form of Islam where the Milad un-Nabi is also regularly celebrated.

On the other hand, there do seem to be good reasons for resisting the transformation of religious holidays into primarily economic events, which seems to be out of control with Christmas and is becoming an increasing problem in Muslim countries as well, esp. with regards to Eid celebrations.

Do you realize then when you make it about “love, togetherness and family” that you are making it about God, who is Love itself and by his very nature is Family (Father, Son and Holy Spirit)? Do you also realize that if Jesus had not been born this holy day (holiday) would not exist? Christ’s love is poured out even on those choose not to believe.

I think it is wonderful that you have a day set aside to focus on love, togetherness and family. But when you really consider the impact that this one man, who lived over 2000 years ago and taught for only 3 years, has had on the world, does it not make you even consider the possibility that you might be missing something extremely important?

I wish you a blessed Christmas.

Hypatia,

For those Muslims who do celebrate 'Eid el-Milad el-Masih (or is it 'Eid el-Nabi 'Isa for you guys or something like that?), when do you do it? I ask because last time I checked Orthodox Christmas was a recognized holiday in Egypt (maybe not anymore under Herr Morsi for all I know…it’s hard to get unbiased information about what’s going with the laws over there, since he seems to be making all kinds of changes and exceptions), so that would be January 7 by the Gregorian calendar (Kiahk 29, by the calendar that is kept by the Church in Egypt, and Ethiopia/Eritrea though they have different, non-Coptic, month names). So it would make sense to assume that they would recognize it then, since that’s when the state does, but I don’t really know. None of the Muslims I’ve ever known have celebrated it. Is there any sort of Islamic tradition around when Jesus was born, or would you just peg it to whenever it is celebrated by Christians in your country? I wonder what this does in places like Lebanon and Iraq, with large numbers (historically :frowning: ) of both Catholics and Orthodox, who celebrate on different dates. Maybe you’ll just pick the one you like better and do it on their day… :smiley: (just kidding, of course)

Thanks for your input. Greatly appriciated it:) Have a very Merry Christmas

Hmm I did not know that. Thanks for sharing. Might I ask do you celebrate Christmas? If not what do you do?

Have a very Merry Christmas

Most of my friends back home (not people here in NM from church) are atheists or agnostics, and I think the vast majority of them celebrate Christmas with trees, presents, and food. I guess that’s what’s left when you’re not interested in religion. It doesn’t really bother me (we don’t even celebrate Christmas on the same day, after all), but last year when I went home for Christmas a friend’s wife asked me what I think about non-religious people like them celebrating Christmas, he told her to be quiet because she was making him uncomfortable. Haha. I think he thought it would start a fight or something, but I don’t care. I mean, sure, I’d rather have someone to go to liturgy with than eat a yule log with or whatever, but it’s a little much to expect the whole world to be Orthodox when so much of it isn’t even any kind of Christian, and there are even those who claim to be “Christians” who won’t celebrate Christmas on principle. With that in mind, I like that my non-Christian friends celebrate Christmas. It’s much less annoying than people who go out of their way not to, and make sure to let you know how dumb they think it all is or whatever. At least atheists focusing on loving their friends and family are doing a portion of what Christ commanded us to do, even if they do not believe in Him or celebrate His birth. That’s much better than the alternative.

What’s worse is that there are those who call themselves Christians and claim to follow the Bible, and won’t celebrate Christmas in any way. I think that is even sadder.

My other gripe is people are apprehensive to call Christmas as Christmas, yet would have a Diwali Festival (current company I am contracting with did this).

It depends on my mood…sometimes I might put up a tree, especially if I’m going to have people over…I have a 3’ glass Santa and a 3’ glass Snowman I put on either side of the fireplace. I also put green on the mantle…even if I don’t have a tree. I have a Yule log sitting with the birch logs near the fireplace…I burn it on the Solstice.

I do go to holiday parties and dinners…that’s the extent of my “secular” participation…sometimes a group of us will serve Christmas dinner at the local Rescue Mission.
To me…serving Christmas dinner to the homeless and needy IS truly what Christmas should be about.

Friend -

Your glass Santa reminds me that St. Nicholas was as we all know, generous but I like that he slapped Arius at the Council of Nicea (some reports say Arius was knocked to the ground). Jolly St. Nick…only when warranted. There are also numerous miracles attributed to his prayers. He was a wonderful witness to the Catholic faith! Something to reflect on when you look your glass Santa. :slight_smile:

Link: catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=371

I certainly know plenty of Muslims who do not celebrate Christmas, and a number of those who might argue, if pushed, that it is bid’a to celebrate Christmas.

I don’t know any Egyptian Muslims that keep Christmas. I know some Saudis living in North America who do, but they are fairly secularized and treat it as a secular holiday (Santa, Christmas trees, gifts, etc… but no concern for it as a religious holiday).

The Muslims I know who are not only keeping it as a cultural holiday (and even for myself there is an element of that), but also remembering the birth of Jesus(pbuh), are all from southeast and east Asia.

Sometimes, but not always, there is a tree in my house (small one this year, but no presents under), and an exchange of small gifts, on the 25th, with close friends and family that keep the holiday, and usually a large dinner. I think everyone understands that that is probably not when Jesus was really born, but there is no Muslim tradition on when his birth should be remembered, and when in Rome…

Ah, thanks. I never thought to ask any of my Saudi acquaintances in Oregon if they celebrated it, though some of them were very secular, too. I guess I assumed they wouldn’t, but some of them did lots of things against their religion anyway, so I don’t know. I guess those Muslims who say it’s bid’a to celebrate Jesus’ birthday might also say the same about celebrating Muhammad’s, right? I’ve heard from several Muslims that they should only have the two holidays ('Eid al-Fitr and 'Eid al-Adha), and anything else is an innovation.

Sometimes, but not always, there is a tree in my house (small one this year, but no presents under), and an exchange of small gifts, on the 25th, with close friends and family that keep the holiday, and usually a large dinner. I think everyone understands that that is probably not when Jesus was really born, but there is no Muslim tradition on when his birth should be remembered, and when in Rome…

The following reckoning of the date of the birth of Christ is recorded by Ibn Kabar (the priest of the Hanging Church in Cairo, 1296-1332 AD) in his treatise “The Lamp that Lights the Darkness Illuminating the Service”:

He (Christ Jesus) was born in time in Bethlehem the land of Aphratha, the village of David. His birth was on Tuesday, the 25th of Canoon the First (25th of December) – which is the 29th of Koiak, the fourth month of the Egyptian Calendar – It was said that it coincided with the 10th of Shaabaan of the Crescent Calendar.

We celebrate the Nativity of Christ in the Coptic Orthodox Church (always as a religious holiday :D) on the 29th of Kiahk still, but the date that this corresponds to in the West is no longer December 25 because of the introduction of the Gregorian calendar in 1582 (long after Ibn Kabar’s time), which pushes Christmas 10 days earlier in relation to the Coptic calendar, and whose leap days bring the total difference to 13 days (and which causes fluctuations due to its leap years; by 2100 we will be celebrating on January 8 instead of 7, as we currently do…both days are still Kiahk 29, though).

So it is both right and wrong to say that He was not born on the 25th of December. He was, but then the Western Church changed what day that is. :wink:

Because the 25th and 26th are public holidays in the UK, it’s family time but, otherwise, they’re just days when the shops are closed and the television is even worse than usual.

We don’t celebrate it but it’s not because it’s got ‘Christ’ in it, quite honestly we Jews have more than enough festivals involving stuffing ourselves or starving ourselves as it is without adding another, secular, one.

On the other hand, it’s good to acknowledge the celebrations and traditions of those around us by wishing them well.

Not too Quakerly of him, not to mention not too Christlike.:slight_smile:

In this “season” of “peace on earth goodwill toward men”…that’s one “reflection” I’ll pass on.:slight_smile:

Friend… the Miracles are very Christlike. :slight_smile: Jesus knocked over a few tables too so I guess St. Nick could knock Arius down for denying Christ’s divinity. Still his reputation for generosity is well known. Good for you in volunteering at Christmas to serve others.

Nick wasn’t Jesus. Nor was he in a moral position, at least in Quaker thought, to exercise violence to “protect” his religious beliefs against one whom he disagreed with. But…that’s just a Quaker understanding…violence begets violence…Truth like love doesn’t need to resort to violence to prove itself…it just needs to be lived out before the world.

Yes, the image of Nick has been incorporated into the Holly King image of ancient times.

:confused: - Really? I mean, that seems a little off kilter.

Most places i’ve worked for/with/volunteered throughout my life tend to either go the

a.) Ban them All

b.) Celebrate them all (or at least proportionate to the population of employees).

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