Before Hanukkah became the Jewish Christmas

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ASPartOfMe
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30 Nov 2018, 1:31 pm

Growing up in the 60’s Hanukkah had some resemblences Hanukkah of today but not much. It was a minor religious holiday and treated as such. The menorah was lit, a few prayers and songs were sung off key and yes we got gifts, 8 days of them but they were cheap knick knack type gifts a few dreidels were spun, and that was really about it.

Hanukah 2018. Families will get together usually one day over the weekend during the holiday, dinner will be served, candles will be lit, prayers and songs sung off key, designer dreidels spun, and gifts indistinguishable from the ones Christians will be exchanging on Christmas will be given. The gifts will be wrapped in Hanukkah colors. Gifts from the school or work holiday party will be added. A plastic menorah has been in the window since Thanksgiving and will be through New Years when the “season” is over. Sometimes the same with a holiday tree.

Already in retrospect even back then there were signs of the impending christmasization, we got actual gifts while the previous generation got a type of chocolate candy called gelt. On Christmas day going to a movie then bringing in Chinese food became an unwritten tradition. It was said it to relieve boredom on a day all normalcy was shut down but in fact it was a sort of alternative Christmas because we felt left of of all the bruhaha.

In the 60’s we had good reasons to feel left out. The holocaust was in the recent past, as was gentelmens agreements keeping Jews out of exclusive clubs, as was quotas keeping Jews out of jobs. I remember being calked “Kike” roughly equivalent as an “n****r” as a bigoted insult often. Mandatory prayers in public schools were legal until 1962, the Jews killed Jesus was the official position of the Catholic Church into the 60’s. Christmas often with religious/Jesus themes were ubiquitous during the most wonderful time of the year. You had to go to school and office “Christmas” parties. There was only Christmas displays often religiously/Jesus themed public and retail displays. So the victimization society and political correctness came and here we are.

As with other examples this is overcorrection. There is no state religion issue for retailers. If they are located in area with a lot of Jews menorah displays are appropriate and just good marketing. Since Jews are less then 2 percent of the US population this should not be relevent in most areas. The same idea applies to Merry Christmas vs Happy Holidays. If you see a family dressed in Christmas themed gear it is ok to say Merry Christmas. For years my family went over to the neighbors Christmas dinner for desert and they did the same for our Passover meal. We did not demand nor did they feel the need to self censor the Jesus stuff. To do that would be to miss the whole point of the visit. We were respecting them by respecting thier religion.

Snow flakiness is not the only reason for the Jewish Christmas phenomenon. Inter marriage is an important reason. Everybodys multitasking busy schedules make a one evening celebration more convenient. And over commercialization is far from a Jewish only problem.

Well at least the we can call the menorah a menorah, FOR NOW.

Speaking of left out the people I really feel sorry for is those denominations of Christians who celebrate Christmas in January. No love for them, the rest of the country is hung over, holidayed out and just trying to get back to work or school.


For more discussion and perpectives about this topic google “December Dilemma”.


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Last edited by ASPartOfMe on 30 Nov 2018, 2:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

naturalplastic
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30 Nov 2018, 2:29 pm

Hannukkah became assimilated to being like Christmas. But that was after Christmas itself succumbed to Paganism.

The main holiday of Christianity is supposed to be Easter. But now its the Pagan festival of lights in midwinter. There is no evidence that Nativity took place on December 25th, but that was the date of the Pagan festival of lights in Roman times so the church picked that date as Christ B-day. Even then the mass of Christ is supposed to be second fiddle to Easter. But in modern times Xmas gets more attention.

And even within the Christmas holiday season its gotten messed up. The twelve days of Xmas are supposed to end and climax with the Feast of Epiphany on January the Sixth. They still do it that in the Eastern Orthodox countries of Eastern Europe.



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02 Dec 2018, 11:24 pm

I can't dispute your experience, maybe Chanukah has become more Christianized over the years. But I do think Chanukah was on its way to becoming what it is now even before you were born, as shown in the lyrics of the original Yiddish version of "Oy Chanukah", originally written by Mordkhe Rivesman, who lived from 1868-1924.

Jews did their own share of appropriation from the gentile culture. For example, dreidels were appropriated from Christians (who played with similar spinning tops during Christmastime) and recontextualized into a Chanukah theme. Spinning tops were definitely not originally a Jewish invention.

However, I do agree that because of the holiday's proximity to Christmas, Chanukah is celebrated with more passion than it should be, given that it is a minor holiday. I don't see the same excitement over Purim, despite its similarities to Halloween and the excuse to get drunk off your mind.

What I don't understand is why the only holiday that atheists make an exception for is Christmas!



The_Face_of_Boo
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03 Dec 2018, 8:09 am

I bet It's more of an "Americanization" effect rather than "Christianization".

For example, In the Levant countries, there is a Christian holiday called "Eid il-Burbara" , both Catholic and Orthodox denominations used to celebrate it on 4th of December - It is celebrated in honour of the Christian Saint Saint Barbara; who, according to tales, disguised herself to escape persecution from the Romans.

It always had similar traditions to Halloween, when I was little, nearby Christian kids used to knock on doors for pennies or treats, but the costumes' themes were totally different, they were costumes of bees, butterflies, fairies, angels, flowers ... it was all about 'benevolent' and 'cute' beings , the whole decoration ambiance was totally different than Halloween (and it was exclusive to kids, no adults wore costumes). There was no pumpkin decorations, vampires, witches and zombies.

Now, its all about pumpkins, vampires, witches and zombies, and slu*ty adult costumes parties, it is now exactly like Halloween.



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03 Dec 2018, 11:11 am



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EzraS
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03 Dec 2018, 11:29 am

naturalplastic wrote:
Hannukkah became assimilated to being like Christmas. But that was after Christmas itself succumbed to Paganism.

The main holiday of Christianity is supposed to be Easter. But now its the Pagan festival of lights in midwinter. There is no evidence that Nativity took place on December 25th, but that was the date of the Pagan festival of lights in Roman times so the church picked that date as Christ B-day. Even then the mass of Christ is supposed to be second fiddle to Easter. But in modern times Xmas gets more attention.

And even within the Christmas holiday season its gotten messed up. The twelve days of Xmas are supposed to end and climax with the Feast of Epiphany on January the Sixth. They still do it that in the Eastern Orthodox countries of Eastern Europe.


What's interesting is even though Easter wasn't a pagan festival turned Christian like Christmas, the name "Easter" is pagan and the bunnies and eggs are as well. All relating to the goddess Inanna-Ishtar associated with love, beauty, sex, desire and fertility. Not sure how that happened though. Hanukkah seems considerably purer in comparison.



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03 Dec 2018, 11:35 am

According to Christianity, the jews are basically our older brothers, never understood the desire to attack our own siblings. Such things don't come from god.


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03 Dec 2018, 4:07 pm

The_Face_of_Boo wrote:
For example, In the Levant countries, there is a Christian holiday called "Eid il-Burbara" , both Catholic and Orthodox denominations used to celebrate it on 4th of December - It is celebrated in honour of the Christian Saint Saint Barbara; who, according to tales, disguised herself to escape persecution from the Romans.


I can speak for the Orthodox. We still celebrate St. Barbara on Dec. 4, even in America. It is overshadowed by the feast of St. Nicholas on Dec. 6, though. The first Christian holiday, before even Christmas and Easter, was the Feast of the Protomartyr Stephen on Dec. 27. Hence the song: "Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephen..."



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03 Dec 2018, 4:17 pm

EzraS wrote:
naturalplastic wrote:
Hannukkah became assimilated to being like Christmas. But that was after Christmas itself succumbed to Paganism.

The main holiday of Christianity is supposed to be Easter. But now its the Pagan festival of lights in midwinter. There is no evidence that Nativity took place on December 25th, but that was the date of the Pagan festival of lights in Roman times so the church picked that date as Christ B-day. Even then the mass of Christ is supposed to be second fiddle to Easter. But in modern times Xmas gets more attention.

And even within the Christmas holiday season its gotten messed up. The twelve days of Xmas are supposed to end and climax with the Feast of Epiphany on January the Sixth. They still do it that in the Eastern Orthodox countries of Eastern Europe.


What's interesting is even though Easter wasn't a pagan festival turned Christian like Christmas, the name "Easter" is pagan and the bunnies and eggs are as well. All relating to the goddess Inanna-Ishtar associated with love, beauty, sex, desire and fertility. Not sure how that happened though. Hanukkah seems considerably purer in comparison.


You'll have to ask "Western" Christians. We Eastern Orthodox still refer to Easter as "Great and Holy Pascha" (meaning "Passover," because Christ "passes over" from death to life, and because we believe it is the fulfilment of the prophecy of Jewish Passover.)



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03 Dec 2018, 4:45 pm

(Sorry to triple post. I don't know how to include multiple quotes in one reply :oops: )

ASPartOfMe wrote:
Speaking of left out the people I really feel sorry for is those denominations of Christians who celebrate Christmas in January. No love for them, the rest of the country is hung over, holidayed out and just trying to get back to work or school.


This is done by by Eastern Orthodox (and Protestants in/from majority-Orthodox countries) who follow the "old" revised Julian Calendar liturgically. The rest of us follow the "new" Gregorian Calendar. So, for them, January 7 actually IS December 25, just according to the old calendar. In observance of this, January 7 (new calendar) is the day that banks and schools and such are closed in countries like Russia, so even non-believers from are used to this culturally. Side note: ALL Orthodox celebrate Easter (Pascha) according to the revised Julian "old" calendar, which is why it can fall sometimes weeks behind "Western" Easter.



EzraS
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04 Dec 2018, 3:25 am

Redxk wrote:
EzraS wrote:
naturalplastic wrote:
Hannukkah became assimilated to being like Christmas. But that was after Christmas itself succumbed to Paganism.

The main holiday of Christianity is supposed to be Easter. But now its the Pagan festival of lights in midwinter. There is no evidence that Nativity took place on December 25th, but that was the date of the Pagan festival of lights in Roman times so the church picked that date as Christ B-day. Even then the mass of Christ is supposed to be second fiddle to Easter. But in modern times Xmas gets more attention.

And even within the Christmas holiday season its gotten messed up. The twelve days of Xmas are supposed to end and climax with the Feast of Epiphany on January the Sixth. They still do it that in the Eastern Orthodox countries of Eastern Europe.


What's interesting is even though Easter wasn't a pagan festival turned Christian like Christmas, the name "Easter" is pagan and the bunnies and eggs are as well. All relating to the goddess Inanna-Ishtar associated with love, beauty, sex, desire and fertility. Not sure how that happened though. Hanukkah seems considerably purer in comparison.


You'll have to ask "Western" Christians. We Eastern Orthodox still refer to Easter as "Great and Holy Pascha" (meaning "Passover," because Christ "passes over" from death to life, and because we believe it is the fulfilment of the prophecy of Jewish Passover.)


Eastern Orthodox has kept things straight. I think Western Christianity via Roman Catholicism incoporated a lot of pagan traditions due to all the different cultures that were incorporated into Rome.



The_Face_of_Boo
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04 Dec 2018, 7:55 am

Redxk wrote:
(Sorry to triple post. I don't know how to include multiple quotes in one reply :oops: )

ASPartOfMe wrote:
Speaking of left out the people I really feel sorry for is those denominations of Christians who celebrate Christmas in January. No love for them, the rest of the country is hung over, holidayed out and just trying to get back to work or school.


This is done by by Eastern Orthodox (and Protestants in/from majority-Orthodox countries) who follow the "old" revised Julian Calendar liturgically. The rest of us follow the "new" Gregorian Calendar. So, for them, January 7 actually IS December 25, just according to the old calendar. In observance of this, January 7 (new calendar) is the day that banks and schools and such are closed in countries like Russia, so even non-believers from are used to this culturally. Side note: ALL Orthodox celebrate Easter (Pascha) according to the revised Julian "old" calendar, which is why it can fall sometimes weeks behind "Western" Easter.



Hmm, not true for all Orthodoxes, in Lebanon Grec Orthodoxes (it’s the name of their church, not an ethnicity) celebrate Christmas on 25th, just like the local Catholics and Maronites.
Orthodoxe Armenians on the other hand celebrate it on 7th january. In my country, both days are official holidays, as two christmas (yay!).



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04 Dec 2018, 12:04 pm

EzraS wrote:
naturalplastic wrote:
Hannukkah became assimilated to being like Christmas. But that was after Christmas itself succumbed to Paganism.

The main holiday of Christianity is supposed to be Easter. But now its the Pagan festival of lights in midwinter. There is no evidence that Nativity took place on December 25th, but that was the date of the Pagan festival of lights in Roman times so the church picked that date as Christ B-day. Even then the mass of Christ is supposed to be second fiddle to Easter. But in modern times Xmas gets more attention.

And even within the Christmas holiday season its gotten messed up. The twelve days of Xmas are supposed to end and climax with the Feast of Epiphany on January the Sixth. They still do it that in the Eastern Orthodox countries of Eastern Europe.


What's interesting is even though Easter wasn't a pagan festival turned Christian like Christmas, the name "Easter" is pagan and the bunnies and eggs are as well. All relating to the goddess Inanna-Ishtar associated with love, beauty, sex, desire and fertility. Not sure how that happened though. Hanukkah seems considerably purer in comparison.


Even the name "Easter" comes from "Eostre", the name of a pagan Anglo Saxon goddess of dawn who was associated with the return of spring, who they celebrated in feasts in April.



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04 Dec 2018, 2:21 pm

The_Face_of_Boo wrote:
Redxk wrote:
(Sorry to triple post. I don't know how to include multiple quotes in one reply :oops: )

ASPartOfMe wrote:
Speaking of left out the people I really feel sorry for is those denominations of Christians who celebrate Christmas in January. No love for them, the rest of the country is hung over, holidayed out and just trying to get back to work or school.


This is done by by Eastern Orthodox (and Protestants in/from majority-Orthodox countries) who follow the "old" revised Julian Calendar liturgically. The rest of us follow the "new" Gregorian Calendar. So, for them, January 7 actually IS December 25, just according to the old calendar. In observance of this, January 7 (new calendar) is the day that banks and schools and such are closed in countries like Russia, so even non-believers from are used to this culturally. Side note: ALL Orthodox celebrate Easter (Pascha) according to the revised Julian "old" calendar, which is why it can fall sometimes weeks behind "Western" Easter.



Hmm, not true for all Orthodoxes, in Lebanon Grec Orthodoxes (it’s the name of their church, not an ethnicity) celebrate Christmas on 25th, just like the local Catholics and Maronites.
Orthodoxe Armenians on the other hand celebrate it on 7th january. In my country, both days are official holidays, as two christmas (yay!).


You are correct. Greek Orthodox in the US are on the "new" Calendar too, as are Antiochians, Serbs, etc. My parish is part of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) and we also celebrate on the 25th (new calendar), but the Russians, Ukrainians, and Romanians in America often celebrate both.



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04 Dec 2018, 7:28 pm

EzraS wrote:
naturalplastic wrote:
Hannukkah became assimilated to being like Christmas. But that was after Christmas itself succumbed to Paganism.

The main holiday of Christianity is supposed to be Easter. But now its the Pagan festival of lights in midwinter. There is no evidence that Nativity took place on December 25th, but that was the date of the Pagan festival of lights in Roman times so the church picked that date as Christ B-day. Even then the mass of Christ is supposed to be second fiddle to Easter. But in modern times Xmas gets more attention.

And even within the Christmas holiday season its gotten messed up. The twelve days of Xmas are supposed to end and climax with the Feast of Epiphany on January the Sixth. They still do it that in the Eastern Orthodox countries of Eastern Europe.


What's interesting is even though Easter wasn't a pagan festival turned Christian like Christmas, the name "Easter" is pagan and the bunnies and eggs are as well. All relating to the goddess Inanna-Ishtar associated with love, beauty, sex, desire and fertility. Not sure how that happened though. Hanukkah seems considerably purer in comparison.


It's also true that the Germanic fertility goddess, Oestra, had been worshiped on the same day for the rebirth of the Spring.


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