Why you should be saying "Happy Holidays" and not "Merry Christmas"
Tis' the season for North American traditionalists to get their panties in a wad over the term 'Happy Holidays'. You will see an inundation of Facebook and Twitter posters saying things like, "let's keep the Christ in Christmas", and other disparaging remarks about how they are going to say 'Merry Christmas', no matter what (like it is the new Crusade), instead of a non-denominational, "Happy Holidays"...mind you, many of these people are the same who believe that more guns are needed to kill terrorists, racism does not exist, and that Donald Trump as actually not a bad candidate for United States Presidency. Well, I'm here to tell you to give your ignorant head a shake! December and January are meaningful months around the world, and Christianity does not have a monopoly on their significance. To follow is a (non-comprehensive) list to illustrate dates of importance to other cultures: Bohdi Day (Buddhism, 500BC) - Dec 8 - A Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day that the historical Buddha experienced enlightenment. According to tradition, Siddhartha had recently forsaken years of extreme ascetic practices and resolved to sit under a Peepul tree and simply meditate until he found the root of suffering, and how to liberate oneself from it. Pancha Ganapati (Hinduism, 3000BC) - Dec 21-25 - A modern five-day Hindu festival celebrated in honour of Lord Ganesha, Patron of Arts and Guardian of Culture. During each of the five days of Pancha Ganapati, the entire family focus on a special spiritual discipline. Lori (Sikhism, 1500AD) - Dec 21 - A popular Punjabi festival that commemorates the passing of the winter solstice, as Lori was originally celebrated on winter solstice day, being the shortest day and the longest night of the year. Mawlid An-Nabi (Islam, 600AD) - Dec 23/28 - The observance of the birthday of the Islamic Prophet Muhammed, which is celebrated often on the 12th day of Rabi' al-awwal, the third month in the Islamic calendar: Hanukkah (Judaism, 1300BC) - Nov/Dec - A Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev, according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar. Kwanzaa (1966AD) - Dec 26-Jan 1 - A week-long celebration held in the United States and in other nations of the Western African diaspora in the Americas. The celebration honours African heritage in African- American culture, and is observed from December 26 to January 1, culminating in a feast and gift-giving. The point of this post is not to disparage Christianity. It is to get those of you who make closed-minded posts about the significance of this time of the year, to open your eyes and understand the exclusionary nature of comments directed towards promoting a "Christmas Only" ideology. Exclusion is the first step in ignorance, and ignorance breeds hate. If you still feel the need to illustrate to everyone on social media that you wish to oppose all cultural values that are not your own, then to quote one of the all-time great Christmas movies, I say to you, "Merry Christmas you filthy animal...and a Happy New Year."