Winter Holidays? Um…Happy Hogswatch Anyone?

 

The winter holidays, are a time when it is often difficult to be PC. It’s impossible to tell at a glance which, if any winter holiday another person celebrates.

It is a season when people often call out greetings to strangers and it seems they expect one to respond. Problem is, responding with a simple echo of what the other person has said is sometimes difficult, especially when your beliefs and theirs may be vastly different.

This is something I find  bit difficult, being Pagan, with that faith being somewhat in the minority in my area. I have been told many times this month, “Merry Christmas!” God Bless You” and other such sentiments. While it is kind of nice for people to wish all these things, it has been pretty awkward when I have responded with “Blessed Yule!” or “Happy Winter Solstice!”. “Happy Winter Holiday” gets  few sideways glances, too.

With so many commercials, songs and even bumper stickers proclaiming that “Jesus is the Reason for the Season!”, what’s a poor Pagan to do?  I must imagine that people who celebrate other non-Christian holidays feel similarly, for not once this season have I been wished a Happy Hanukkah, Blessed Kwanzaa or anything else that was not Christmas related.

According to Austin Kline, in an article for ThoughtCo.com, “Most people assume Christmas is a faith-based holiday and, as such, can’t be celebrated in a nonreligious way. You have to believe in Allah to celebrate Ramadan, right?”

My Yule altar this year

“Although Christmas has largely been observed as a Christian religious holiday, that has changed dramatically over the years. The holiday already included many elements borrowed from other religions…” Pagan faiths in particular have often had their festivals and sabbats twisted to fit in with Christian beliefs, and even in this enlightened age, when that fact is commonly acknowledged by many historians and scholors,  we see absolutely no Pagan themed decorations, greeting cards, etc. at this time of year. Unfortunately only some of what is commercially marketed for Halloween, reflects Samhain, for no Halloween is devoid of green, warty-faced witches (I know real witches of all colors, but green is NOT one of them and we’re no more prone to complection problems than anyone else!), not to mention the ever popular cartoon ghosts, fictitious monsters and more.

Turn of the century Halloween greeting card

I LOVE dressing up and all the fun that goes with Halloween, it’s just that Halloween and Samhain, for me at least, are distinctly different. One demands fun, candy, parties, etc. The other is a time in which I reflect upon my ancestors, celebrate their lives and how they touched mine, honor them and often communicate with them. So I, being a glutton for joy, celebrate both. Besides, with my wardrobe, dressing as a Sorceress or even Witch is all too easy and who better than a Pagan to do so?!

As a bonus, Halloween is one time of the year when I can go out and pick up a few items for my home decor that actually reflect my personal taste, which admittedly runs toward the gothic, dark side!

Talking Bubbe – OY VEY!

But back to Christmas, etc. – I went to a local craft store this year, hoping for some pretty candles, etc. for Yule.  I did find candles, and some lovely Holly and Oak leaves, but almost everything else was Christmas. Very Christmas. As a saving grace, and the only nod to non-Christmas decor, there was one, 2 foot wide display of hanukkah decorations and merchandise. I, for one loved the cute stuffed talking “Bubbe” doll. That was the only reference I found to non-Christian beliefs in ny craft store this year.

I love my Christian friends, and have a few friends of other faiths, (that is the ones who are so kindly willing to put up with my hermit-like ways!).  I love them all as I have a love and respect for all humans and animals on our planet. It’s just that at times like these, I want to wish seasonal greetings or a happy winter holiday to everyone, without offending anyone in the process!  Therefore, I would like to wish you all a Happy, Merry, Joyous, Blessed Rama-Chris-Kwanz-Hannuk-Yule and if I’ve left anything out, please know that it was no doubt a typo caused by my enjoyment of a bit of sherry and pork pie for Hogswatch!

A Holiday must-see film, The Hogfather, created from Terry Pratchett’s wonderful book of the same name. Find this and I promise you will love it!

Till next time, whatever you are or celebrate, I wish you happiness and love ~ Ravenbird

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