Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays .

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"Merry Christmas" vs. "Happy Holidays".

What's with all this objection to saying "Merry Christmas"? What's next? Objecting to saying "happy Halloween" because people who don't celebrate Halloween might get offended?
 

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  • #2
russ_watters
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Objection by who to who? If a person doesn't celebrate Halloween, they won't wish you a happy Halloween or appreciate it if you wish them one. I have a Jewish boss. Since I know he's Jewish, why would I wish him a merry Christmas?
 
  • #3
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Objection by who to who? If a person doesn't celebrate Halloween, they won't wish you a happy Halloween or appreciate it if you wish them one. I have a Jewish boss. Since I know he's Jewish, why would I wish him a merry Christmas?
I'm talking about wishing someone a "Merry Christmas" if someone doesn't know whether or not someone celebrates Christmas. What's next? Objecting to wishing random people a "happy Halloween" because one doesn't know whether or not they celebrate Halloween, and someone who doesn't celebrate it might get offended by it?
 
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  • #4
Drakkith
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It's just been blown out of proportion by most people because of political correctness. I don't tell someone who says "god bless you" when I sneeze that i don't appreciate it. I simply say thank you, as I know they had a good meaning behind it. Since most people do celebrate christmas I'm probably going to tell most people merry christmas around this time of year. They can choose for themselves whether to tell me not too or just accept it as a "have a nice day" kind of deal.
 
  • #5
Monique
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What's with all this objection to saying "Merry Christmas"? What's next? Objecting to saying "happy Halloween" because people who don't celebrate Halloween might get offended?
Why are you offended by happy holidays? I rather say happy holidays, since that covers the load and why would anyone care that I don't wish them a merry Christmas?
 
  • #6
Evo
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Why are you offended by happy holidays? I rather say happy holidays, since that covers the load and why would anyone care that I don't wish them a merry Christmas?
Agree, absolutely. This time of year has holidays for more than one religion, and nonreligious people also celebrate the generic holiday spirit. (christians, don't forget this isn't really the date of Jesus' birth, it was a pagan holiday and the Catholic church wanted to take people away from the pagan holiday, so pretended it was his birth as a reason to celebrate in their church).

In any case Jesus was not born on Dec. 25. That date was chosen for Christmas because it was the date when the Winter Solstice occurred. THis date was widely celebrated as the birth date of the Persian sun god Mithras, who was widely worshipped in the Roman Empire, particularly among soldiers. The Emperor Constantine was among those who worshiped Mithras. When the chucrch became flooded with pagan converts, a huge problem arose. The converted pagans did not want to give up the Winter Solstice festival as it was a time of much celebrating. The church basically followed the old saying "If you can't beat them, join them" and decreed that December 25 should not be celebrated as the birth date of the sun god, but rather as the birth date of the Son of God. Christmas is a pagan holiday and the fact that virtually all of the popular customs observed on this date are of pagan origin confirms that fact.
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Where_and_how_did_Christmas_start
 
  • #7
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Not once in my life have I heard anyone object to saying Merry Christmas. However, there are some people who will wish you happy holidays, (which includes Christmas, I would imagine) or welcome you with seasons greetings this time of year. In fact, in the shopping malls, they do it every day starting a week before Halloween. The stores are an interesting case. When you walk into a store during this two month long holiday season (remember, Christmas is only one day, the two month long festival is Clausmas), you will find Christmas decorations all over the place. There are holly wreaths, Christmas trees, gift wrapped packages with long ribbons and whatnot. If the store is a large one, you can bet there was a team of professional marketeers who sweated every detail of those decorations. The color, the size, the placement were all decided based not on the amount of merriness that they wished your Christmas would have, nor on the happiness of your holidays, but on how much money it would make you spend. If some clerk said happy holidays to you instead of merry Christmas three weeks before Thanksgiving, it's because some suit told them to do so in order to increase sales.

One final word. There really is a holiday, rival to Christmas, which has been called Clausmas. This holiday is in all of its traditions, a war on Easter.
 
  • #8
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I have a Jewish boss. Since I know he's Jewish, why would I wish him a merry Christmas?
People who don't know each other well still greet each other. How often do two Jews wish each other a merry Christmas, neither knowing the religion of the other?
 
  • #9
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A guy behind the counter in a Mexican restaurant in a Mexican neighborhood told me a woman went off on him for wishing her a Merry Christmas. From the level of upset he described, she was clearly a PC bully. That's the only incident I've heard about, though.
 
  • #10
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In any case Jesus was not born on Dec. 25. That date was chosen for Christmas because it was the date when the Winter Solstice occurred.
He may have been born on December 25th. How can we know he wasn't? I used to work with a guy who was part of a Christian sect that celebrated Christmas in January. They claimed that's when Jesus' true birth was. I'm glad they know the specific date Jesus was born, since we don't know that he even existed in the first place.
 
  • #11
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He may have been born on December 25th. How can we know he wasn't? I used to work with a guy who was part of a Christian sect that celebrated Christmas in January. They claimed that's when Jesus' true birth was. I'm glad they know the specific date Jesus was born, since we don't know that he even existed in the first place.
Christmas is Dec. 25. What day is Easter?
 
  • #12
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He may have been born on December 25th. How can we know he wasn't? I used to work with a guy who was part of a Christian sect that celebrated Christmas in January. They claimed that's when Jesus' true birth was. I'm glad they know the specific date Jesus was born, since we don't know that he even existed in the first place.
If he was born on Dec 25th, why would the Catholic church have had to move the date?

There were two big holidays for pagans... the winter solstice and the vernal equinox. Hey, Jesus was born on one and died on the other! What a coincidence.
 
  • #13
jim mcnamara
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Monroe's Restaurant good NM food, in Albuquerque, my favorite is their carne adovada. Out front of the place is big big lighted sign:

Code:
Merry Christmas!
Oops.
Happy Holidays!
Waiter said somebody complained so they added Happy Holidays. I guess that was the PC police in action.
 
  • #14
Vanadium 50
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There were two big holidays for pagans... the winter solstice and the vernal equinox. Hey, Jesus was born on one and died on the other! What a coincidence.
Half correct. The relation to the vernal equinox is because of the relation to Passover. which is itself tied to Spring.

You are correct that there is no strong evidence that Jesus of Nazareth was born on December 25th, or any other particular day. (I can argue for and against a winter birth on Biblical grounds) You are also correct that many cultures (not just "pagans") have a holiday near the winter solstice - for many reasons, it's a good time for a holiday. The Feast of the Nativity entered the calendar some time in the 4th century, and it was not intended to be a "birthday party for Jesus" then. It was a minor holiday then, and Epiphany (the Twelfth Day of Christmas) was the more important one. Sometime around the year 1000 Christmas became the more important one.
 
  • #15
jim mcnamara
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Jimmy is correct about dates and times relating Christmas:

Dionysius Exiguus fixed the start of the years (Anno Domini) in the first version of the Christianized Julian Calender - which continues in the Gregorian Calendar, the one in use in a lot of places today.

He replaced Diocletian years with Anno Domini.
-- see the Anno Domini section here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dionysius_Exiguus

Anno Domini is not the year Jesus was born. Wikipedia shows a range from 7BCE to 2BCE. According to Wikipedia: There is no historically correlated month (or day) of Jesus birth.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus#Year_of_birth

Personally, it matters not - I enjoy the season when we celebrate it.
 
  • #16
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Christmas is Dec. 25. What day is Easter?
Actually, I don't know. Isn't Easter one of those holidays that doesn't have a fixed day?
But is there a connection I'm missing?
If he was born on Dec 25th, why would the Catholic church have had to move the date?
I didn't know they did move the date. Why did they have to move it? And how does that relate to his real day of birth?
There were two big holidays for pagans... the winter solstice and the vernal equinox. Hey, Jesus was born on one and died on the other! What a coincidence.
It's a coincidence that Mark Twain predicted when he'd die.
Coincidences happen.
 
  • #17
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Actually, I don't know. Isn't Easter one of those holidays that doesn't have a fixed day?
But is there a connection I'm missing?
Why doesn't it have a fixed day?
 
  • #18
Astronuc
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Actually, I don't know. Isn't Easter one of those holidays that doesn't have a fixed day?
But is there a connection I'm missing?
Think lunar calendar and it's relationship to the calendar based on earth's revolution around the sun.
 
  • #19
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Think lunar calendar and it's relationship to the calendar based on earth's revolution around the sun.
So why is Easter's date set according to a lunar calendar and Christmas according to a solar one?
 
  • #20
Chi Meson
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Before this gets locked, I just wanted to say that I have never, not once, not ever, heard anyone state that they were offended when I said "Merry Christmas" to them. I've never even overheard it. I've never even heard a first-hand account of it happening.

I have, however, repeatedly, yearly, over and over (and especially now with facebook cranks making a big deal of it) heard people being offended by "Happy Holidays."

The fictitious "war against Christmas" gives the whacky fringe something to complain about.
 
  • #21
AlephZero
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It doesn't make much sense to have a fixed date for Easter unless you know what the actual date was, and the contemporary documentation (i.e. the Bible) is vague if not actually self-contradictory.

The least disputed fact is that the date was close to the Jewish Passover festival which is based on a Lunar calender, so I suppose there is some logic in keeping the date of Easter relative to that. (But it's not clear EXACTLY how many days separated the two events)

There is no evidence that the birth of Christ was celebrated at all until after 200 AD, when an Egyptian document proposes several birth dates, none of them in December. Apparently the early Christians considered that celebrating birth dates was a pagan custom, and didn't want to copy it.

A anonymous document from about 400 AD records a tradition that Christ was conceived and died on the same day of the year, therefore the birth date would be 9 months after Easter.

The idea that Christian missionaries should hijack pagan festivals rather than try to abolish them was first proposed by Pope Gregory in about 600 AD. The first "explanation" that Dec 25 was a hijacked pagan festival doesn't appear until about 1200 AD.
 
  • #22
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Before this gets locked, I just wanted to say that I have never, not once, not ever, heard anyone state that they were offended when I said "Merry Christmas" to them. I've never even overheard it. I've never even heard a first-hand account of it happening.

I have, however, repeatedly, yearly, over and over (and especially now with facebook cranks making a big deal of it) heard people being offended by "Happy Holidays."

The fictitious "war against Christmas" gives the whacky fringe something to complain about.
lol,

Same here but I have heard that public school has gone through some cultural adjustments over the years. Perhaps it's knowing your child won't have found memories of singing Christmas carols in school that's irking 'em.
 
  • #23
lisab
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I didn't know they did move the date. Why did they have to move it? And how does that relate to his real day of birth?
I can't find a reputable source for this, so this will have to be IMO. It was taught to me in Sunday School, of all places!

Remember the reason Joseph and Mary were travelling when she was full-term pregnant? It was because the Romans were having a census, and per Roman rule, you had to return to your place of birth for the census (yes, they had silly bureaucratic rules and over-regulation back then, too). It is known that the Roman census was in the Spring, so it's likely Jesus was born in the Spring.

The date was moved so the Pagans wouldn't have to give up one of their favorite holidays, Winter Solstice. Moving the birth to that date had symbolic value, too: hope coming during the darkest days of the year.
 
  • #24
Chi Meson
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lol,

Same here but I have heard that public school has gone through some cultural adjustments over the years. Perhaps it's knowing your child won't have found memories of singing Christmas carols in school that's irking 'em.
I like in a "liberal" corner of a "liberal" state in the "liberal" northeast. I am a teacher in a public school. Christmas carols were playing on the intercom last week. Not "jingle bells" and "frosty the snowman," but "Have yourself a Merry little Christmas," "Drummer Boy," "Carol of the bells" etc. We have about 25% non-christian population here, and no one, not one person complained. I'm atheist, and I say "Merry Christmas" to my Muslim students, they say "You too!" and not ironically, either.

So, speak up: who's doing all the complaining?
 
  • #25
WannabeNewton
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So, speak up: who's doing all the complaining?
People who have nothing better to do in their lives than complain about the most useless things.
 

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