About the Holidays

Posted on November 3, 2011 by


Although I haven’t joined in the Christmas gift-giving thread yet, I’ve noticed that there’s a bit of a kerfuffle concerning the term “holidays” when referring to Christmas. I am aware that some people like to use that word to reduce the Christian influence on the celebration, but perhaps I can offer a different perspective on that term.

I actually do use the term “holiday season”, as it encompasses the four Advent Sundays, St. Nikolaus Day, the Immaculate Conception, Feast of St. Lucy, the three Christmas Days, Silvester (New Year’s Eve), Feast of St. Mary (New Year’s Day), Epiphany, and Baptism of the Lord. We’re basically in Mass or celebrating at home every couple of days from the beginning to the end, and we don’t even celebrate everything. Since living in the States I’ve started mentally-including Thanksgiving in the list. So the holidays in our house are from Nov 24 to Jan 8.

For Catholics, Christmas is actually a season, rather than a day, and lasts from Christmas Eve until the Baptism of the Lord. Before that we have Advent and after that Ordinary Time begins again, according to the liturgical calendar. The Eastern Orthodox have a similar schedule with a slight delay due to using a different calendar.

This makes sense for the practical reason that it’s the darkest and dreariest time of year and all of the holidays keep everyone from getting depressed. It’s also a convenient time for farmers and other workers to take off since they’re buried in mounds of snow in the constant-darkness. It has the side-benefit of downplaying the Santa Claus stuff because there is constantly something going on that’s Christian-related.

That was just FYI. So if you see me say, “Happy Holidays”, it’s actually not a reference to Hanukkah.

Posted in: Religion