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Is Christmas only observed as a religious holiday?

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Christmas Copie

Is Christmas only observed as a religious holiday?

Christmas is known as an annual worldwide celebration that is observed on the 25th of December. In the United States, it is a winter holiday season starting just after the Thanksgiving Day on the4th Thursday of November.


Whether it is in America or in other countries, Christmas celebration commonly refers to the birth of Jesus Christ commemorated by Christians every December 25.That means, Christians view it as more of a religious holiday rather than a simple winter holiday season. Unlike other religiously unaffiliated group of individuals which include non-Christians and people of other faiths who see it as more of a cultural occasion. Although they have differing views of Christmas, Christians and non-Christians alike celebrate it and both rejoice into the spirit of Christmas. According to a Pew research survey, 96 percent of US Christians celebrate Christmas, so do 81 percent of non-Christians; essentially testifying American society’s wide acceptance of and involvement into the holiday. However, both religiously affiliated and unaffiliated don’t observe Christmas the same way. A 2013 Pew research survey shows 51 percent of Americans see Christmas as a religious holiday, while 32 percent say it is more of a cultural occasion; the remaining17 percent do not see it neither a religious nor a cultural holiday, few of the respondents even say they do not celebrate it. This survey actually proves that America still embraces diversity. 

Although American people do not share the same views of the holiday, that doesn’t necessarily mean they celebrate it differently. In American society- regardless any religious and cultural aspects of the holiday- The winter holiday season remains an occasion for family to spend time together by always honoring the traditions and customs of Christmas and by getting into the spirit of the festivity such as decorating the Christmas tree, gathering around a bountiful dinner, and exchanging gifts. The Kwanzaa, a seven day festival, that falls exactly into the winter holiday season - between December 26 to January 1 - is a festival that celebrates African Americans’ culture and history along with Christmas celebration. This consists in using a special candle holder called a kinara and is lit each night during the seven days of celebration; and alike Christmas, kwanzaa is a family-centered celebration. Similarly, the African American tradition using candles is quite similar to that of the menorah in the Jewish Festival of Lights, Hanukkah, also celebrated all along Christmas season. This is indeed an eight-day Jewish celebration, known as Hanukkah, which commemorates the rededication of the second Temple of Jerusalem. Both Kwanzaa and Hanukkah traditions reflect the cultural diversity of Christmas celebration in America, which is not only defined as a religious holiday.

Sources: Share America / Pew Research Center




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