Today being December 25th, it feels very inappropriate to write about anything non-Christmas related, and the ideas I’ve had leading up to this post all seem somewhat out-of-place at this time of the year. Yet nonetheless, I believe I’ve found a way to link the occasion back to the subject of this blog; today I’m asking if Christmas was celebrated in the communist world.
In the Soviet Union, celebration of the holiday was greatly restricted, and it was suppressed as a manifestation of religion. The League of Militant Atheists, an ideological organisation in the country, fuelled the suppression by promoting an anti-religious and anti-Christmas sentiment , and it is perhaps partly due to their efforts that Christmas is still not widely celebrated in Russia today.
The situation is similar in the People’s Republic of China, as the holiday is still not celebrated by many, yet this is less a result of political action as it is of religion; the Chinese Christian population equates to about one percent of the country’s 1.4 billion inhabitants, meaning that few recognise the festival’s religious significance. This is ever more true in the more remote, western regions, where it is likely seen by many as an alien tradition.
Yet despite this, Christmas has increased in popularity throughout China, and whilst suppressed in the Soviet Union, a separate, secular festival on December 31st was celebrated under the socialist regime. This suggests that, irrespective of whatever religious beliefs they may have, humans want to celebrate something this season. In fact, even the modern holiday we call Christmas wasn’t always very Christian; first a week-long Pagan festival concluding on Dec 25, it was adopted by Christians to ‘draw in’ Pagan believers, proving that you don’t need God as an excuse to celebrate..
With this in mind, I wish everyone a merry, secular Christmas Day.
A Friday it may be, but I’m impressed that you’ve posted a new article on Christmas day, and as interesting as always. A very merry and secular Christmas to you too. I love the red star on your tree…
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Merry Secular Christmas AR. I’ll drink to that.
A very merry secular/christian/good excuse to celebrate Christmas to you to. Have a Fab New Year as well. xx
Only just got the internet back, Max, so thank you for the latest blog. Dinner was superb, beating nigella, heptonstall et al. If. toning else Christmas gets us through the short dark days and so I hope it spreads and spreads. The stable, from my childhood, rules o k.
In the bleak midwinter…best carol ever. So here is to Spring, sunshine, warm weather, the wild blue yonder and all you wish yourself. Nana
Christmas is actually the only time of year when I go to church, sing hymns, make my children recite them and the Christmas Gospel and try to think about about Christianity and its influence on our culture. Why? Because otherwise, i.e. if not a time to remember and consider what our society grew out of as well as enjoy some of the beautiful aspects of Christianity, it is an utterly pointless (capitalistic?) and nauseating consumer orgy. Hallelujah!