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Pagans and Christian holidays question

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
If you are Pagan, or just feel more "Earth-based" in your beliefs, do you celebrate Christian holidays as well?

I'm Secular Humanist, but celebrate Christian holidays. They feel empty to me. We attend a UU church and there's a lot of Pagan traditional holidays celebrated there. I'm learning more and more about Pagan and really prefer the symbolism and meanings.

I'm looking more into switching our family over to celebrating the Pagan way, but I'm wondering if Pagans celebrate Christian holidays.

Satisfy my curiosity please What do you celebrate (Pagan and/or Christian). I've got Circle Round coming in the mail, so that may help as well.

Thanks
Lisa
post #2 of 22
I'm agnostic with pagan leanings. We do not celebrate xmas here. My family was the big, over the top commercial xmas nightmare. We traveled when the kids were small at holiday time to dodge all the santa and present stuff. When they got older, we developed our own party called Soup and Solstice. No presents. Just candlelight, greenery, hot soup, bread and whosoever is left in town so close to that other holiday. Lots of fun and we always have a houseful.
post #3 of 22
It's very individual. We do choose to celebrate some of the Christian holidays as well as our own holidays. This is only because my parents are Christian and the whole family gets together to celebrate. However, we do not participate in any church aspect; we share the cultural aspects. For example, my mother and grandmothers may go to church for Easter and Christmas Eve. (My dad usually bails on the church services. The whole family is pretty respectful of individual choice when it comes to religion.) We don't attend church with them. But we do go to the family Easter lunch -- we even bring the Easter eggs! -- and the Christmas Eve dinner, and we visit them on Christmas and open gifts together. It's just family time, no overt talk of religion. I like that the kids have these memories of family traditions and pleasant time spent together. If my family weren't pleasant to spent time with, though, we wouldn't participate.
post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by chaoticzenmom View Post
If you are Pagan, or just feel more "Earth-based" in your beliefs, do you celebrate Christian holidays as well?

I'm looking more into switching our family over to celebrating the Pagan way, but I'm wondering if Pagans celebrate Christian holidays.

Satisfy my curiosity please What do you celebrate (Pagan and/or Christian). I've got Circle Round coming in the mail, so that may help as well.
I am Pagan (Wiccan, specifically) and have been since, oh, about 16 years ago? As in, serious. I dabbled before that, because I was a drunken git and oh-so-gawthic, and thought I was cool, but I had no idea what I was doing. Till I got sober. Then it became real.
I realize I always was into witchy things as a girl, though, and magic and astrology and things occult.

Anyway, in the beginning, after I became comfortable with being Pagan, I kind of looked down on all things Christian-- I think a lot of Pagans go through this. Resentment. Especially at one's upbringing, if it was especially strict.

But as I grow in my spirituality, and as I grow as a Witch, and as I grow older in general, I notice that I have mellowed. A lot.
I realize that I have always loved Christianity, and all religions-- the rituals and services are beautiful, and the stories are lovely, and there are truths across all paths that are universal.

That said (you needed backstory ), yes, I celebrate the Christian holidays, too. In a way.
The Pagan ones are my spiritual food. The Christian ones are more secular for me, as in Santa Clause (but he's a god, too, and I celebrate him that way as well) and presents and all the trappings.

Things may change, though. My sweetie is Catholic, and very much so. I don't know a whole lot about the Catholic religion (it seems very different from Protestant ones, which I grew up in), but I find it fascinating, and I may end up incorporating some of his faith into my path as well.

Anyway, as I grow older, I find that I honor all paths, and all ways to the Gods (or God).

HTH
post #5 of 22
We celebrate Yule and all the other pagan holidays. As far as X-mas goes, Santa comes on X-mas eve, so my boys get some gifts on that day, and then we go to the movies. But our main holiday is celebrated on Yule. We celebrate Ostara, so we typically don't do anything on easter.
post #6 of 22
We celebrate Christmas and Easter as family celebrations but don't get all Jesusy with it.

When we remember and/or have time, we celebrate solstices and equinoxes. Christmas and Winter Solstice get smooshed together for the sake of convenience. Same with Easter and, well, Easter. Or Ostara, if you will. We also do a little spiritual recognition of our ancestors and loved ones we've lost in addition to all the wacky candy and costume fun at Halloween.

I figure since Christmas, Easter and Halloween got scammed off the pagans to begin with, at this point in history it's pretty much a spiritual free-for-all and whoever wants to celebrate whatever they want in whatever way they want is cool with me
post #7 of 22
For the Op... in case she hasn't seen it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_Xdk4PujOE
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks. It's nice to know what other people do in situations like these. I hope I can help our celebrations be more meaningful before the kids grow up and leave.

Philomom, I'm stuck now on youtube watching Dar Williams videos. thanks.
post #9 of 22
I knew without even clicking on the link which song it was going to go to!
post #10 of 22
I feel like I'm coming late to the party.. here's our family background:

Me: Raised Catholic, Now a practicing witch, DH raised Jewish - let the fun begin!

Holidays are crazytimes for us - because I have essentially 3 highlight, but I agree with Maia, the beauty in each of the rituals and the higher beings with them (such as Santa and the Ostara/Easter Bunny) makes it fun to connect the similiarities in each with the kids.
post #11 of 22
We're pagan (ADF specifically) and attend UU services as well.

We celebrate pagan "holy days" and christian "holidays". Basically we do our ritual, inward focused, family focused religious celebrations using the pagan seasonal calendar. And we do our socio-cultural, outward focused, extended family and friends celebrations using the American social holiday calendar.

There are some holidays that just sort of slip past without note, but this sort of dual-celebration allows us to, say, celebrate the vernal equinox with religious ritual and family tradition while at the same time keeping extended family traditions like a special meal at easter and an egg hunt.

My kiddos love it actually because they get "double" the holidays... and especially around the winter solstice! They get a few gifts at Yule, a few gifts at Christmas, a few more when la Befana visits, and a few more at 12th Night. (it works out well because a few small gifts every few days sort of extends the season while preventing a "big blow out" materialistic focus).
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by _ktg_ View Post
I feel like I'm coming late to the party.. here's our family background:

Me: Raised Catholic, Now a practicing witch, DH raised Jewish - let the fun begin!

Holidays are crazytimes for us - because I have essentially 3 highlight, but I agree with Maia, the beauty in each of the rituals and the higher beings with them (such as Santa and the Ostara/Easter Bunny) makes it fun to connect the similiarities in each with the kids.
Thanks, ktg, you're not late, I'm still checking That's a great point about connecting all of the religions/celebrations/symbols, etc.

Wombatclay, the seasonal wheel is very interesting to me. I can't wait to get more into it. Your post is still way over my head. I'll get there.
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by chaoticzenmom View Post
Wombatclay, the seasonal wheel is very interesting to me. I can't wait to get more into it. Your post is still way over my head. I'll get there.


She does that, chaoticzenmom. You'll get used to her We lurve her, those of us that know her

Quote:
We celebrate pagan "holy days" and christian "holidays". Basically we do our ritual, inward focused, family focused religious celebrations using the pagan seasonal calendar. And we do our socio-cultural, outward focused, extended family and friends celebrations using the American social holiday calendar.
Yep. This.
post #14 of 22
I am pretty much a "western Hindu", which means that yes, I do celebrate Christmas because it is the most prominent holiday of my local culture and in its essence Christianity does not conflict with my beliefs at all. Also, I love Christmas! I don't celebrate other Christian holidays, though, because no one around me does. And furthermore although I have the opportunity because there are many Hindus in my area, I don't celebrate Hindu holidays either except in personal worship alone or with my husband. That will probably change when my LO is old enough to want to play!
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by wombatclay View Post
We celebrate pagan "holy days" and christian "holidays". Basically we do our ritual, inward focused, family focused religious celebrations using the pagan seasonal calendar. And we do our socio-cultural, outward focused, extended family and friends celebrations using the American social holiday calendar.
This is what we do too.
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by wombatclay View Post
We're pagan (ADF specifically) and attend UU services as well.

We celebrate pagan "holy days" and christian "holidays". Basically we do our ritual, inward focused, family focused religious celebrations using the pagan seasonal calendar. And we do our socio-cultural, outward focused, extended family and friends celebrations using the American social holiday calendar.
This is also what we do.
post #17 of 22


Sorry... this has been such a crazy busy week I'm mostly on a babble, bibble, "speakin' nonsense" wavelength!

~~~~~~~~~~~~
Holy day= the day has religious significance and ritual obligations
Holiday= the day has traditions, symbols, and celebrations but no "religious" meaning

For me, there are three main "calendars"... pagan, christian, and secular/social. All three calendars have celebrations that fall at about the same time. For example, pagan Samhain, christian All Saints, and secular/social Halloween all fall in the same week.

For us, we celebrate Samhain as a day with religious significance and ritual obligations. It's a holy day and our ritual is meaningful for us. We don't celebrate All Saints Day though... it's not our holy day and it probably wouldn't feel meaningful even if we tried to celebrate it. However, the secular/social traditions of Halloween are meaningful and we enjoy trick or treating, bobbing for apples, carving pumpkins, and watching Sleepy Hollow.

Kind of like the Dar Williams song , the secular/social holiday can be meaningful and enjoyable no matter what "religious calendar of holy days" is being followed.

~~~~~~~~~~~
Circle Round is a great book, but keep in mind it was written within the spiritual framework of the Reclaiming tradition. Now, I was a member of a Reclaiming group for many years and agree with a lot of their world view but the book is going to reflect the beliefs/practices of that specific group.

Celebrating the Great Mother (by Cait Johnson) is a more "general" resource for pagan families since it doesn't assume a specific framework. It offers earth-based/seasonal crafts, rituals, and traditions that are more generally pagan...

Kind of like Circle Round is religious, Celebrating the Great Mother is spiritual

Anyway, check Celebrating out too.

~~~~~~~~~~~~
ADF=
Quote:
Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (ADF) is an international fellowship devoted to creating a public tradition of Neopagan Druidry.
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by wombatclay View Post
Holy day= the day has religious significance and ritual obligations
Holiday= the day has traditions, symbols, and celebrations but no "religious" meaning
You're the scholar, Clay, so correct me if I'm wrong, but I do believe the word "holiday" derived from the words "holy day"?

(I also heard that "vacation" has as its root "vacant" )
post #19 of 22
yup... they come from the same place. I was just trying to clarify how I was using them.
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks for that clarification, Womabatclay. It helps. Darn, I almost went with Celebrating the great mother, but got circle round instead. I'll check it out for sure.

Thanks.
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