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Is Christmas a religious holiday?

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Posted 12/23/18 , edited 12/23/18
There are many Jews and Muslims that cannot celebrate Christmas because their religion doesn’t allow them to participate in the celebrations of another faith.

But in a case like Japan and many other people that are not of Christian faith who celebrate Christmas... is Christmas still considered a religious holiday if the biblical aspect is taken out? Can it just be a cultural celebration?

Or do you think it’s a religious holiday that’s widely celebrated by non-religious people....and maybe even misunderstood by them? Valentine’s Day for example....it was originally a Christian celebration honoring the early saint Valentinus....but I don’t think most people will make the connection.
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Posted 12/23/18 , edited 12/23/18
It is technically a religious holiday, but it's popularity and the sheer extent to which it's permeated various cultural spheres makes a lot of people simply not care. It has simply lost a lot of it's religious connotation.
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Posted 12/23/18 , edited 12/23/18
It's a religious holiday for Christians, and a secular holiday for everyone else that chooses to participate. Although arguments could be made that it's also a holiday worshiping at the alter of materialism.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0r6ocwGnMg
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Posted 12/23/18 , edited 12/23/18
Excerpted: https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2017/12/15/is-christmas-a-pagan-holiday/#42dc7fb42d32

Christmas is a holiday that has evolved due the passage of time and the influence of various cultures as Christmas has entered their lives. Each of those cultures has enriched the holiday, giving us more traditions with which to celebrate it.

People have, for thousands of years, celebrated astronomical markers that help them regulate things in their lives, like agriculture. The solstices and equinoxes helped people know when to plant their seeds and harvest their crops. The winter solstice marks the day with the shortest period of daylight and the longest night.

If we traveled to the ancient world, we would find some kind of celebration at that time, in many places, each at first independent of the others. For the ancient Romans, that holiday was called Saturnalia, named for the god Saturn. Saturnalia was celebrated by feasts, the giving of gifts, and a brief sense of equality through role-reversal as the masters tended to the servants. The ancient historian, Livy, tells us that Saturnalia began in 497 BC. Modern historians believe it probably started earlier than that. So, at least half a millennia after the origin of Saturnalia, Jesus Christ was born. His birth was not initially a holiday, because birthdays were not then celebrated in Jewish culture. It would be a few centuries until early church leaders decided it was a day to put on the calendar and commemorate. It would also be a few centuries until they decided to pick a day for that celebration, because the gospels do not tell us on what day he was born.

On December 25th, 274 AD, the Emperor Aurelian consecrated the temple of Sol Invictus, creating a holiday called Dies Natalis Solis Invicti – the birthday of the Sun – officially elevating the Sun to the highest position among the gods – nudging a steering current towards monotheism.

Around 350 AD, Pope Julius I officially declared December 25th to mark the birth of Christ. There was no evidence that was the actual day of birth, to the contrary, the gospel of Luke, says: “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.” Shepherds watch their flock by night during lambing season, which is the spring. But there’s no rule that says a day of celebration has to coincide with the actual date of origin.

So, in Rome in the fourth century, there were three big holidays being celebrated on December 25th – Saturnalia, Dies Natalis Sol Invictus, and the Dies Natalis of the Christ. It’s only natural that elements from these celebrations would cross-pollinate each other, especially when they fit so well – for example, the gift giving of Saturnalia could be adopted by Christians as symbolic of their God giving his only son to them as a gift on that day.

As Rome faded and Christianity grew, the people that celebrated those holidays would take their traditions to new areas. As those early Christians moved into Northern Europe and introduced Christmas to the native Germanic peoples, the practices of Christmas were influenced by the practices of those peoples for their winter solstice holidays. Over time, traditions like the Yule log, mistletoe, tree decorating, and evergreen wreaths were absorbed and became thought of as Christmas traditions. The Saxons, the Vikings, the Victorians, and the capitalists have all added traditions to the rich tapestry of the holiday we all call Christmas.

There’s nothing to be feared from those traditions. They are additive, not dilutive. Pagan contributions are not something to fear. We are no more corrupted by having a “pagan” Christmas tree in our house than we are by having a calendar that says Wednesday or Miercoles on it.
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Posted 12/23/18 , edited 12/23/18
It depends on you and how you do or don't celebrate it.
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54 / M / In
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Posted 12/23/18 , edited 12/23/18
It might have been at one time but not anymore which is for the better
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Posted 12/23/18 , edited 12/23/18
Yes it is, as much as it is now a commercial one too.
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Posted 12/23/18 , edited 12/24/18
It's a mix of a lot of things, honestly. The hanging of the mistletoe, and the Yule log stem from Nordic traditions and lore. The centering it around Christ portion of Christmas is the religious part.
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Posted 12/23/18 , edited 12/24/18

FlyinDumpling wrote:

But in a case like Japan and many other people that are not of Christian faith who celebrate Christmas... is Christmas still considered a religious holiday if the biblical aspect is taken out? Can it just be a cultural celebration?


I am unsure why you think the Japanese celebrate Christmas.
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Posted 12/23/18 , edited 12/24/18
Cultural appropriation has been going on since the birth of culture. It's going to be okay, just breathe.
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Posted 12/23/18 , edited 12/24/18

Cellory wrote:


FlyinDumpling wrote:

But in a case like Japan and many other people that are not of Christian faith who celebrate Christmas... is Christmas still considered a religious holiday if the biblical aspect is taken out? Can it just be a cultural celebration?


I am unsure why you think the Japanese celebrate Christmas.
because they do
Posted 12/23/18 , edited 12/23/18
Its a holiday

A holiday is a day set aside by custom or by law on which normal activities, especially business or work including school, are suspended or reduced. Generally, holidays are intended to allow individuals to celebrate or commemorate an event or tradition of cultural or religious significance
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Posted 12/23/18 , edited 12/23/18
Not exactly, pretty much everybody celebrates it, especially the Japanese which have real freedom of religion. I consider my self nontheistic and I like celebrating Christmas.
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Posted 12/23/18 , edited 12/24/18
I luv Christmas <3
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Posted 12/24/18 , edited 12/24/18
I celebrate it as a fun time for family and friends, gifts and food. I know others celebrate it as a religious observance as well, but tend to include a lot of that family, friends, gifts, food stuff as well when possible.

It does remind me of when I was learning to read Japanese, I was picking up various manga to translate and got really confused by the katakana for "kurisimasu" until I looked at all the Santas in the background and remembered that the manga was taking place in December.
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