Saturday, December 11, 2010

War on Christmas

It is hard to see what the infamous "War on Christmas" is about: Nobody is forced to celebrate Christmas anyway, Hanukkah is culturally and timewise closer to Thanksgiving then to Christmas and there is still no desire to rename Thanksgiving (Thanksgiving is, by the way, also a church holiday, as is Mardi Gras), Ramadan is not a seasonal holiday, and Pagans have their own high holiday. It's called Halloween. As for atheists, why would they even want to participate in a watered-down version of Christmas in the first place?

The War on Christmas seems to be, mostly, Pagan-driven, but I have yet to meet one single Pagan (or Kwanzaan), and I live in New York City. Also, I‘m not sure why American Pagans would even want to pray to fictional characters from German fairy-tales and Nordic sagas, which is, in effect, what they are doing. Shouldn't Pagans rather pray to the American God's of nature that used to protect Native Americans? Then again, they did not do such a great job when they had the chance.

Germans expats and German companies in the USA are always trying to be politically correct. So they mail out Christmas cards to American associates wishing them Season's Greetings and cards to Germans wishing them Fröhliche Weihnachten. I‘ve just read in The New York Times that Mexicans do the same thing, wishing Feliz Navidad to their own people and Happy Holidays to everybody else. I'm sure French and Italians do likewise.

While the War on Christmas has some funny features, it also has a dark side for Germans: The German Democratic Republic, the GDR, tried to get Christmas ignored, not easy in a country that actually invented Christmas the way it is celebrated today, with a tree, candles, gifts, and traditional songs like Silent Night. Urban rumor has it that the Communists renamed the Christmas angel on top of the Christmas tree Jahresendflügelfigur, a term that loosely translates into "end-of-year-winged-figurine". And there was a fringe movement during the Third Reich within the SS that wanted to replace Jesus with Thor and Odin. But the Nazis as well as the GDR utterly failed to take Christmas out of Germany.

Now let me make a pitch for Berlinica's Christmas gifts: We have an Angels of Berlin wall calendar, and quite a few books, the newest one The Berlin Cookbook. Amazon tells you that it ships within two weeks, but it really ships right away. And it also has recipes suitable for Pagans such as Love Bones. It refers to a Pagan ritual I will tell you about if you buy the book.

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