Oops! Can I say ‘Happy Christmas’ when I’m an atheist? To hear some Christians talk I can’t. I’ve been told by one of my Christian acquaintance that, because I’m an unbeliever I shouldn’t even be celebrating Christmas. It upsets the baby Jesus.
However, as we know, the mid-winter celebration now known as Christmas didn’t start with the Nativity myth. Nor do most of our modern ‘traditions’ spring from it; we’ve Charles Dickens, Prince Albert, Clement C. Moore and Coca-Cola, amongst others, to thank for those.
But, if – as Christians insist – we need to put the Christ back into Christmas (because, as one internet wag puts it, he keeps wandering off) then equally we should put the Eostre back in Easter when that festival rolls round again. Easter was originally a Spring-time celebration of fertility, which is why its timing is determined by the moon, symbol of femininity, and why it’s named, still, after the Germanic goddess of fertility, Eostre. Let’s give her her rightful place at Easter and dump all that rubbish about resurrected god-men!
And shouldn’t we, on the same principle, put Thor back into Thursday, Friya into Friday and so on, as internet commenters have been saying for some time now?
Just because an occasion is named after a particular non-existent deity, be it Thor, Eostre or Christ, doesn’t mean we have to honour and worship them, or put them ‘back into’ it, when we reach the time of year named after them. Nor does it mean we can’t refer to Thursday, Easter or Christmas when we don’t believe in these deities. Christians do it themselves all the time, when they talk about the days of the week.
The self-righteous don’t have a monopoly on Christmas, any more than Thor’s worshippers own Thursday. It’s time they gave their ‘put the Christ back into Christmas’ nonsense a rest and stopped telling the rest of us we’ve no right to be celebrating Christmas, just because we don’t believe in Jesus.
So, I’ll say it again –
A very Happy Christmas – to both my readers!