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  1. #111
    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    From what I recall reading, our 'Christmas tree' btw is a Germanic, pagan tradition for protecting the land spirits/ 'germanic fairies' from the bitter cold, in an attempt to appease them so they'd look upon the return of Light favourably - which was the original celebration of Yule - still the norwegian word for Christmas btw. They'd hang bells in the tree so they'd know that when it jingled, the fairy spirit was awake and present, and cookies on the branches as offerings.

    Honestly, I find it kind of weird that christians consider 'christmas' part of their tradition, especially all the 'fun stuff' such as gift giving= germanic hospitality rules, santa claus = Wotan on the traditional 12 day Hunt, christmas trees, yule logs, the whole shebang. It's...about as pagan as it gets. Hell, many of them are practising sympathetic magic without even realising it

    But, it is tradition to them. It aint so much about the religion, at least not when engaging in those activities. It's about coming together as a family, as a community at a time of year when -let's face it - we 're freezing our asses off and the lack of light is making everyone moody, lonely and blue. It's tradition and it brings the community together. And that's all that matters.

    And yes, Easter aint Christian either, nor is Candlemas, for that matter or Halloween/Day of the Dead. People, including christians still celebrate it though, as a community.

    So I guess...I could ask Christians the same question you re posing atheists
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  2. #112
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amargith View Post
    And yes, Easter aint Christian either, nor is Candlemas, for that matter or Halloween/Day of the Dead. People, including christians still celebrate it though, as a community.

    So I guess...I could ask Christians the same question you re posing atheists
    Indeed you could. At Yule, the Goddess gives birth to the new baby God, and the light returns to the world. Christians just want to see Jesus in that baby. Fair enough; it would just be nicer (and truly fair) if they remembered the Goddess as well.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  3. #113
    Senior Member Habba's Avatar
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    This is rather long a topic, so I just skimmed throught the pages. I celebrate christmas because my parents did. It's a family thing. Whole family gets together and has a rest from their busy schedules. There's plenty of lights and candles (it gets pretty dark in Finland), and usully fresh snow. There's also a lot food and sweets to eat. And we eat a lot. Christmas tree is brought in on 23rd and is decorated in the morning of 24th. We usualky sneak presents under the tree during the day and by evening we have Joulupukki (Santa) visit us. Or if there is no kids present, we just share the gifts without Joulupukki. 25th ad 26th are usually for more feasting and visiting some close relatives.

    Nothing religious about that. It's actually so what close to the original Yule I think. Celebration of light and warmth in middle of darkest and coldest winter.
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  4. #114
    IRL is not real Cimarron's Avatar
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    The whole thing is hard to sum up all at once, because you're asking a question with multiple layers in its answer. But this is a good summary of it:
    Quote Originally Posted by SensEye View Post
    True. But we did it in the first place for the presents the fun and the food. It's just for a while we forgot that was the main reason (on account of most of our ancestors became Christians), and we thought is was a holy dudes birthday. So reverting back to the days when it was only about fun/presents/food is not inconsistent.

    Likewise Christians, who may have started celebrating Christs birthday on Dec 25 (when it would seem that date is almost certainly incorrect) can carry on doing so, since they have been doing that for centuries (and since the exact date is unknown anyhow, might as well stick with tradition). It's about the fun/presents/food for Christians too. And they can celebrate their religion on top of that.

    I actually used to really like Christmas services back in my psuedo-believer days. That whole fellowship vibe is a legitimate phenomena. Everybody is in such a good mood you can't help but feel the same way.
    Though as a non-Christian, I do get what you mean, @AzulEyes. I might think "Why would atheists celebrate a holiday historically central to Christianity?" But then, as people here have said, that is closely followed by thinking, "Why would Christians celebrate this holiday, anyway?" In both cases, I guess, it's what the holiday means now--not what it was intended to mean--that supports people's actions. My opinion is that some people are okay with that way of thinking, and some people are not okay with the incongruency. Stuff like that, personally, would bother me, so I get where your question comes from.

    And more generally, I get what you mean that you want your holidays to be about more than a convenient party date on the calendar. Some people don't see a need for that distinction, but I feel you there. No offense to others, I hope, just the way my personal values work.
    Last edited by Cimarron; 12-07-2013 at 07:23 AM. Reason: holidays in general
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  5. #115
    Senior Member AzulEyes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cimarron View Post
    The whole thing is hard to sum up all at once, because you're asking a question with multiple layers in its answer. But this is a good summary of it:
    Though as a non-Christian, I do get what you mean, @AzulEyes. I might think "Why would atheists celebrate a holiday historically central to Christianity?" But then, as people here have said, that is closely followed by thinking, "Why would Christians celebrate this holiday, anyway?" In both cases, I guess, it's what the holiday means now--not what it was intended to mean--that supports people's actions. My opinion is that some people are okay with that way of thinking, and some people are not okay with the incongruency. Stuff like that, personally, would bother me, so I get where your question comes from.

    And more generally, I get what you mean that you want your holidays to be about more than a convenient party date on the calendar. Some people don't see a need for that distinction, but I feel you there. No offense to others, I hope, just the way my personal values work.
    Thanks, ISTJ. I knew I liked you guys.

    And not the right place to throw another loop in (lol) but I understand the point of people saying the roots were pagan and winter solstice etc. But let's face it, Jesus completely took it over. (Well- not HIM but his followers.) So are the pagan / WS roots REALLY why non-Christians celebrate the season???? Or is that a convenient excuse to get presents and partake in the fun without having to sell your soul to Jesus?

    Thanks to all- everyone has been so great, respectful, enlightening and engaging in this thread! (I am the worst thread maker too- so I am so happy that people actually are talking in one that I made. lol)
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  6. #116
    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzulEyes View Post
    Thanks, ISTJ. I knew I liked you guys.

    And not the right place to throw another loop in (lol) but I understand the point of people saying the roots were pagan and winter solstice etc. But let's face it, Jesus completely took it over. (Well- not HIM but his followers.) So are the pagan / WS roots REALLY why non-Christians celebrate the season???? Or is that a convenient excuse to get presents and partake in the fun without having to sell your soul to Jesus?

    Thanks to all- everyone has been so great, respectful, enlightening and engaging in this thread! (I am the worst thread maker too- so I am so happy that people actually are talking in one that I made. lol)
    It is for me- but then I'm pagan.

    I do think that the reason so many pagan symbols could not be eradicated out of these holidays by Christianity is because it taps into our humanity. We're a species that tries to make sense of the universe, and that hands down traditions generation after generation to preserve our culture, knowledge and wisdom of our people.

    Much like fairy tales - which often also contain pagan symbolism btw - these holidays tap into our psyche. Originally, Christmas was celebrated as the return of light. After the longest night, the sun would return, to grow the crops and ensure that there would be the potential for life again - even in the deepest of winter, there was this ray of hope. It brought people together in the face of adversity - the real fear of starvation, of eternal darkness and cold, which tends to foster a togetherness. Hospitality was a vital virtue in the Germanic culture *because* of the fact that they lived in such a hostile land - the kindness of a stranger in the freezing cold to offer you a roof over your head, even it it is just in the barn, or to give you the gift of a meagre supper...it was often all that stood between you and death in the darkness and cold outside, especially around this time of year, when winter was at its worst.

    And THAT is what Christmas is about. It is about that hope, about that kindness, about giving to one another and standing together. It is in that respect also about family, one that extends beyond your blood.

    And atheists feel this togetherness just as much as christian or (neo) pagans do. In a way, Jesus became the symbol of that hope as his message surely was in line with this thinking. And similar to Christians not being able to wipe out pagan symbolism from these important moments for our species, atheists whose culture has been influenced heavily by Christianity in the past will still feel comfortable with those Christian rituals in their routines. It's a method they were handed down by their ancestors, a way to express what this time of year invokes in us. It becomes part of the culture, even if it no longer is part of the belief system - much like was the case for paganism.
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  7. #117
    Superwoman Red Herring's Avatar
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    @Riva What do you think of Europeans and North Americans celebrating Holi as a completely secular fun party? That would be a case of the West imitating the East, maybe even of cultural appropriation. Holi is becoming increasingly popular in my part of the world.
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  8. #118
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzulEyes View Post
    And not the right place to throw another loop in (lol) but I understand the point of people saying the roots were pagan and winter solstice etc. But let's face it, Jesus completely took it over. (Well- not HIM but his followers.) So are the pagan / WS roots REALLY why non-Christians celebrate the season???? Or is that a convenient excuse to get presents and partake in the fun without having to sell your soul to Jesus?
    One might as well say the old Pagan traditions took over the Jesus story. Much of what people ascribe to Jesus is not substantiated by the earliest accounts of his life and teachings, but rather was co-opted from the contemporary myths of existing deities. This includes ideas like the virgin birth and even the resurrection. As @Amargith correctly describes, humanity is predisposed to mark this time of year just because of what is going on in the natural world, created by the Creator, whatever we choose to call him/her/them. That is far more compelling than any specific myth or holy book. It is part of what never left me, even when the sum total of my belief system was: deity exists.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  9. #119
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    Jehova's Witnesses don't celebrate it, either, on account of the holiday's origins. Y'know -- the non-Christian origins.

  10. #120
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Herring View Post
    @Riva What do you think of Europeans and North Americans celebrating Holi as a completely secular fun party? That would be a case of the West imitating the East, maybe even of cultural appropriation. Holi is becoming increasingly popular in my part of the world.
    That doesn't sound much different from the secular celebration of "Christmas" in the US. As long as you understand what you are celebrating and why, including where your practices originate, there seems little harm in it. In fact, it might help people develop a better appreciation of our common humanity. I always liked the idea of celebrating holidays outside my own cultural traditions, provided I took the time to understand what they are about.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

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