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  1. #16
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    My issue is that most people in the US say, "Oh, but Frosty and Rudolph aren't religious, they're secular." Yes, Frosty and Rudolph are obviously not in the Bible, but the stories are about Christmas. Then there are the people (and this includes a lot of those I question) who say that trees and wreaths are secular, too. Ah, no. If you actually celebrated the religious aspect of Christmas, maybe you would know this. I know most enjoy celebrating the time of year with family, exchanging gifts, etc. But, that is not the true origin of Christmas. I don't want to take away anyone's fun, but none of this should be in the schools.
    My kids went to an elementary school where they were pretty much the only, in their own words, "true Jews." They meant the only ones with 2 Jewish parents, who went to religious school, and celebrated only Jewish holidays. In the beginning, some of the teachers thought it would make them feel better around this time of year, if they slipped in some Chanukah themed pictures when the kids were coloring in the early grades. Personally, I let them handle it all on their own, but there were a few times when each of them chose not to participate in something.
    Then there was the art teacher who asked my oldest son if he was allowed to do a Thanksgiving activity . Yes, a person with a master's degree asked a 9 year old this. I tried not to interfere, but I think that some of the educators just did not get it. We solved it by moving to a town with more awareness and more diversity, but they were in middle school by then.
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  2. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    WA State
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muirenn View Post
    Interesting. I always thought trees and wreaths were from Druidism.
    - very much so… the whole holiday was adopted, or should one say co-opted, adapted from Paganism to make Christianity more palatable to people who followed Pagan religions… It's really celebrations of the Solstice and one brings those green living things that can survive the winter into ones home (pine boughs and trees, mistletoe, holly) to ward off the darkness and celebrate the return of the light.

    (no, I'm not Pagan, nor am I Christian, or an adherent to any religion for that matter, but I did study this in botany class in college - fascinating. You don't even want to know where the tradition of garland came from… eeewww)
    Last edited by Eden; 12-15-2014 at 05:57 AM.
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  3. #18
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    Feb 2005
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    Concord, MA
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    Well, I knew the tree stuff had a religious basis, somewhere, but I have heard other explanations.
    Murienn, what you get in New England depends totally on what town you are in. The place I spoke of is about 15 miles north of here, on the border of NH. Very insular and sort of blue collar town where not a lot of people ever leave. The educated people sent their kids to Catholic school, and when we moved here in 1990, it was a bit economically depressed. It was pretty and affordable. Each little town here is like a fiefdom all to its own!
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  4. #19
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    Jun 2002
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eden View Post


    (no, I'm not Pagan, nor am I Christian, or an adherent to any religion for that matter, but I did study this in botany class in college - fascinating. You don't even want to know where the tradition of garland came from… eeewww)
    Wasn't it from the plague? So many dead and dying that you'd want a garland around your neck to ward off the smell? Surfs off to look this up.

    Some biblical scholars say that your Christ (nice guy, by the way. I'm Jewish but not practicing. But I like that whole taking care of the poor, the least of those, he's a cool, radical Jew) anyway there are those who say he would actually have been born in Spring or Summer. But how do you get Romans for example to quit celebrating Saturnalia with wild abandon?

    Ya gotta have something else in winter.
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  5. #20
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    Dec 2005
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    WA State
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trek420 View Post
    Wasn't it from the plague? So many dead and dying that you'd want a garland around your neck to ward off the smell? Surfs off to look this up.
    I read garland had no holiday significance at all in it's origin - it was, at first, the stringing of the guts of one's slain enemies around a tree to celebrate your glorious victory and warn off anyone else who might wish to fight with you…. nasty stuff.
    Last edited by Eden; 12-15-2014 at 06:18 PM.
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  6. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Troutdale, OR
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    yeww. I think I will stick to der Tannenbaum (a fir tree). paegan yes. Winter solstice yes.
    O Tannenbaum is German musik here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lhQ_hBT7lA not the best example. And it deosn't mention about Christmas or Christ child. You can read the lyric. Run it through google translate for some good laugh.

    So I'm tad confused. How did O tannenbaum become a song about a Christmas tree?

    I'll pick Rudolph. He is the best.
    Last edited by smilingcat; 12-15-2014 at 09:50 PM.

  7. #22
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    Dec 2005
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    WA State
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilingcat View Post
    So I'm tad confused. How did O tannenbaum become a song about a Christmas tree?
    probably the same way a song about a medieval prostitute (Greensleeves) turned into a song about a certain baby (What Child is This?)…...
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  8. #23
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Maryland
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    55
    Definitely Rudolph. Although Frosty is not that bad in animation (every costume snowman or gingerbread man is scary as all heck though)
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  9. #24
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    california
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    changed my mind....sorry cindy-lou who....now i'm choosing as a friend, heather

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    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    3,176
    Quote Originally Posted by Trek420 View Post
    Wasn't it from the plague? So many dead and dying that you'd want a garland around your neck to ward off the smell? Surfs off to look this up.

    Some biblical scholars say that your Christ (nice guy, by the way. I'm Jewish but not practicing. But I like that whole taking care of the poor, the least of those, he's a cool, radical Jew) anyway there are those who say he would actually have been born in Spring or Summer. But how do you get Romans for example to quit celebrating Saturnalia with wild abandon?

    Ya gotta have something else in winter.
    For a winter holiday, you can't beat Hanukkah. Start with one little candle and by the end...wow! Especially if you have a crappy little menorah and the candles are too close together you've got some significant fire.

    Right now, we have the opposite: an aging fake tree, and every few days another section of lights poops out.
    Each day is a gift, that's why it is called the present.

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
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    ^ yeah ... Am I allowed to say I'm just generally fed up with religion, but the Easter Vigil Mass was always just breathtaking, just like the above except for all in an hour, from total darkness and spare words, to a few candles and chanting, to blazing lights and choral music with instruments.

    I miss the ritual. A lot. It's just everything behind it I can't take .....


    And ANOTHER thing... Humbug ... If you ask someone what they want for Christmas and they say "nothing," do them the courtesy of taking them seriously. What most people want is for the holiday to just be f***ing OVER without the pressure of either buying something for YOU, or pretending to like your gift. Humbug. If someone is celebrating a religious holiday, that's got nothing to do with the gifting, and one less person to worry about gift exchange is that much more mindfulness to devote to their religious observance.
    Last edited by OakLeaf; 12-19-2014 at 06:00 PM.
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  12. #27
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
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    I am glad I am not the only one who just waits for the frenzy to be over. For awhile, I got swept up into it, mostly because of work colleagues. I have not done much at the synagogue in the past 5-8 years, as I told my rabbi that my bike is my new religion... that said, I do still celebrate holidays and would never deny who I am. There are certain rituals that I like, too. But, for me, a lot of my participation was social, it just happened to be at services.
    This year, I feel no stress at all. The clinic I work at has at least 50% Jewish therapists and the director is Jewish. The admin people are all in a frenzy, but I can ignore their chatter. There's a few minor decorations on the receptionist's desk, as well as a menorah. Unlike my last job, none of my clients have tried to give me gifts, as they are a bit more aware of this stuff. All I know is that I made my last trip to the grocery store yesterday, until next Friday, and G-d forbid I have to go to any type of store in the next week. This kind of inconvenience does sort of irk me, but I am looking forward to a little Chanukah celebration with my son and DIL Sunday, as well as Chinese food on the 24th, and dinner with our friends on Christmas.
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  13. #28
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    Jun 2002
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    Quote Originally Posted by malkin View Post
    For a winter holiday, you can't beat Hanukkah. Start with one little candle and by the end...wow! Especially if you have a crappy little menorah and the candles are too close together you've got some significant fire.

    Right now, we have the opposite: an aging fake tree, and every few days another section of lights poops out.
    Somewhere I read that you don't really know a person until you see how they handle unravelling last years knotted up Christmas tree lights

    Tiny condo with a puggle doggie so no real safe place to put a menorah, we have an electric one. While that sounds tacky it's actually quite nice, looks like a series of tea candles.
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  14. #29
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    May 2008
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    northern Virginia
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    Quote Originally Posted by OakLeaf View Post
    And ANOTHER thing... Humbug ... If you ask someone what they want for Christmas and they say "nothing," do them the courtesy of taking them seriously. What most people want is for the holiday to just be f***ing OVER without the pressure of either buying something for YOU, or pretending to like your gift. Humbug. If someone is celebrating a religious holiday, that's got nothing to do with the gifting, and one less person to worry about gift exchange is that much more mindfulness to devote to their religious observance.
    Is this true? Do most people just want it to be f***ing over?

    I was raised catholic, but religion has had no meaning for me for decades. I still enjoy Christmas. I like looking for gifts to give people, and I like giving gifts and I hope that people like what I give them. I like receiving gifts (but do not expect anyone to give me anything just because I gave them something). I like that the holiday provides an opportunity to spend time with family and friends. I like the food.

    I understand and respect that many people do not celebrate the religious aspect of Christmas. I was actually happy to find several stores at the mall that were not playing Christmas music when I was out shopping the other night. If someone told me they did not want a gift from me, I would respect that.

    For me, the basic meaning of the holiday is peace on earth, good will towards people, regardless of their beliefs. It can be hard to remember that through the all stress (most of it due to continued sh*t at my job), but I do try to remember it.

    Last night I passed a house with tons of Christmas lights around it, including lights going up and down a very tall tree in the front yard. It has nothing to do with anything in the Bible, but when I see something like that, I think the people who put them up did it to celebrate their joy in the season. Whether I agree with the reason for their joy, I can still appreciate that they want to share it with others.

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  15. #30
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    Oct 2002
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    Quote Originally Posted by ny biker View Post
    Is this true? Do most people just want it to be f***ing over?
    For me, the basic meaning of the holiday is peace on earth, good will towards people, regardless of their beliefs. .
    I don't know about most people, but I don't. I love the holiday season for the reason listed above. And I am absolutely not religious. I have to admit I was saddened by how this thread became a rant against the holidays, however, folks are entitled to express themselves. As far as I am concerned, all religions are mythology.

    I have never worked in a school district that prohibited holiday themed events. Maybe we're just not progressive enough. All of my students seemed to enjoy the school wide festivities and the team discussion question that I started this thread off with. Religion comes up in so many great novels that I teach- Letters From Rifka, Number the Stars, Esperanza Rising, The Ballad of Lucy Whipple and Dragon's Gate immediately come to mind. Those are things my students are required to read. Maybe those novels should be banned from schools as should anything else that mentions religion.

    How can you teach tolerance if you don't teach about cultural differences?

    I love the Dickens quote where nephew Fred says something about how this is the one time of the year when people seem to treat others as if they were like themselves and not some different race of creatures altogether. I know it's really about class society in England but I extrapolate that sentiment to include all humanity. And it's a feeling I wish we could hold year round.

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