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Loki riding

“Three Words of Heresy: Happy New Year!”, or, “My Inadvertant Foray into the Culture Wars"

I’ve been reading in the news all the hoohah over people saying “Merry Christmas” vs. “Happy Holidays”, but I sure never expected to get involved personally in this conversation. Until yesterday, that is, when I had the following encounter with a woman I barely know:

She said, “Merry Christmas!”

I replied, “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!”

I could just see the chill forming. She said, “It’s ‘Merry Christmas’.”

So I said, “Happy Holidays! Because, at a minimum there are two of them, one week apart, and I actually like New Years better than Christmas.”


Well, I opened my mouth, and out pops, “Merry... Yule!”

Good thing we got interrupted then, because I was about to launch on a long, geeky discussion of Mithras, Sol Invictus, Saturnalia and the interesting fact that the Puritans so despised Christmas that observing Christmas was actually illegal in parts of New England in the 1600s. (I love reading about theology, ancient and modern). And I know for a fact that this would not have gone over well...

But who knew that “Happy New Year!” was on the list of forbidden phrases???


Happy Channukah, Happy Kwanzaa, Merry Yule!
Peace on Earth, good will to everyone!
¡Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo!


This woman has some serious issues. Next time you see her: RUN!
Great advice! And I love your icon!

Just how stupid can people be? I would have loved to hear about her face if you had told her about the Puritans and Christmas.

Happy Holidays!!!!! :)))
Ahem, SEE her face, of course! *blushes*
LOL, yes, I can imagine her expression if I had actually gone into that whole discussion...!
She should just wear a sign that says, "Grinch" And how about the fact that Christmas comes from Christ Mass. If a person ain't Catholic, maybe they shouldn't say it! Or at least, let's buy lots of gifts on Michaelmas also! Yeah, I'm an idiot.
And there's Candlemas, too! More gifts? Yes, I'm an idiot, too.

I've always wondered why, since they changed the name of the old pagan winter holidays to "Christ Mass", why didn't they do the same with Easter? That one is named after a German goddess of the spring.
Easter is too sacred to fuck with. Never piss off the Goddess, winter will last forever. Oh, sorry! Pagan propaganda! Run! giggle - I need to lay off the egg nog.
LOL! Well "egg" nog is certainly appropriate, when discussing Eostara - in no time at all we'll be decorating virtual - or real - Easter eggs...! Lovely symbol of fertility that they are.

You got me thinking... OK, the early Christians changed the name of the winter Festival to Christmas, but did not give a specifically Christian name to Easter. Was it because...

- Goddess worship was still too powerful - and as you said, they didn't want to piss off the goddess.

- It was easier to change the name of a holiday featuring a male god, because the idea of the death and resurrection of the god was a common theme in many early religions.

- Back to goddess worship; did they leave Easter alone because they didn't have a female divinity to substitute for Eostara, and the people wanted male/female balance in their religion some way? (I remember reading somewhere that some 2nd century Christians personified the 'holy spirit' as female.)

You've sure got me thinking...!

Well, running now myself! I have slash to write...!
I think I read somewhere that they did try to change it, but people just wouldn't give it up, so they took the Easter name and hook the re-birth of Jesus to it. Also, isn't Easter set by the moon? The sunday after the full moon in April, which means it can be early or late in the month, depending. And if that don't clue you in, I'm sorry, you're a fundamentalist! (kof - not you - speaking broadly now) laughing
Love your virtual egg. Yes, the date Easter falls on is set by the moon schedule, so yes, that absolutely settles it. This is a goddess holiday.

I can be such a geek sometimes. Last year, a co-worker made the mistake of wondering just why eggs were associated with Easter, and what on earth did eggs have to do with Jesus anyway, and I was off and running on some long Spockian lecture about eggs, rabbits, chicks, and Eostara the fertility goddess... I hadn't even made the moon connection, but it's a sure thing that if anyone ever brings up this subject again, I'll trot out the same lecture, with the additional of the moon cycle.
I had a similar experience at work where I wished a patient happy holidays and he said "I'm one of those who believes we should keep Christmas in it" or something like that. This is an extremely dismaying campaign by a handful of religious right radio hosts/authors. What could be worse than to try and divide Americans over religion during the winter holiday season? I would hope this is just a flash in the pan, but the problem is so many people actually believe Bill O'Reilly's drivel, and it has taken on a sinister, anti-semitic tone. Read this link for an indepth look at this problem.

I'm finding all of this very scary. (I tried to read the article you referenced, but it wouldn't let me through). I did find another article which talked about specific anti-semitic incidents. What is happening to this country, anyway? It's astounding to me that people could actually believe 'Christmas is under attack'.
Sorry about the Times Select link. Apparently it won't let you through unless you have the paid account (for Times Select) I copied and pasted the article to my LJ so you guys can see it there.
Good grief. My response to that would have been: "it's not a Merry Christmas for those who celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Solstice or Yule, etc. So Happy Holidays, whatever you celebrate and peace and joy to you."
I like that reply. If this situation ever comes up again, I'll be using that one.
I've been catching up reading LJ this morning, and have found several threads about this topic. I've been very surprised that so many of the Religious Right have decided that saying Happy Holidays means you are "anti-religious" or "anti-Christian". As far as I'm aware, people began saying it so as not to EXclude those who are of other religions, i.e. Jews celebrating Hanukkah at the same time of year - and this was before Kwanzaa began to be celebrated in a big way, too. It was a way of acknowledging non-Christians and saying "I hope your holidays are happy too". I realize that uber-Christians can't begin to deal with the question of Solstice or Yule celebrations (sigh) as coming from the devil, yadda yadda...but is it suddenly PC to ignore all the Jews of the world at "Christmas"? Hell, this year, the first day of Hanukkah fell on Xmas Day. I would certainly think "Happy Holidays" would be appropriate, since Kwanzaa starts the following day.

That said, why is it that Muslims and Buddhists seem to have no problem whatever wishing Christians "Merry Christmas" or "Happy New Year"? I've been wished this countless times by Middle Eastern and Asian folks. They don't seem to feel threatened. And I've certainly wished a lot of Asians "Happy New Year" in February. It's a nice, thoughtful thing to do, acknowledging other religions and holidays. It's a...lol, 'Christian' thing to do ;-)
The weird thing about all of this is that, up until I first heard about this controversy, my understanding, going all the way back to my childhood, is that "happy holidays" means "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year". It's always been something you say to people before Christmas who you aren't going to see until the 'new year'. With two official federal holidays one week apart, and with many people taking the week off in between, having a combo greeting like this always made sense to me.

I'm sure this is how people used it in my childhood, and that's the way I've used it all my life. There would have been absolutely zero recognition of Channukah or other winter holidays in the town in which I grew up, and yet people said "Happy Holidays".

>>That said, why is it that Muslims and Buddhists seem to have no problem whatever wishing Christians "Merry Christmas" or "Happy New Year"?

There does seem to be a specific anti-semitic undertone to this latest bs - see the article Orinoca has in her journal.
Yeh, there's all kinds of anti-Semitic stuff going on all over the country right now. The idea that we're not past that, and that of all things, (loving) Christianity is the cause of it, I find disgusting. I saw the bit on the news about that huge menorah in OC and it made me sick. I understand that thousands of people turned out for the lighting of the substitute menorah, many of them non-Jews. If I had lived anywhere near there, I would have gone myself.