I was going to keep this a Christmas-free zone but the quiet here today is screaming at me to say something. I can understand atheists in Western countries who feel uncomfortable with Christmas. There it is closely tied up with religious associations.
The strength of these religious trappings varies, I am sure, with each cultural locale. There are many who can and do love Christmas without giving a thought to its religious origins.
While living in Asia I could not resist asking some Chinese whom I knew were either Buddhists or Taoists, if anything, why they were wearing Santa hats and wishing all and sundry Merry Christmas. Their answer: “It’s Christmas. Everyone loves Christmas.”
I even saw a Moslem girl happily wearing a Santa cap over her head-scarf.
But seeing Christmas being celebrated alongside the Chinese New Year alongside Deepavali alongside Hari Raya and a half dozen others it drove home to me that it just one of many social rituals that would have to be invented if it did not exist from time immemorial. Humans are social creatures and rituals are important to us as social creatures and that’s that. There’s always room for the odd individual to bow out for a time, shorter or longer.
The fact that it has religious associations probably has more to do with the centrality of religion in the lives of people than with the festival itself, if that makes sense.
Here are a couple of other views:
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