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Dec. 23, 2004

"Bah Humbug" no more

by Varun Gulati, Page Editor
Sophomore Hailey Lin is a devout Christian she goes to church twice a week, and she has been reading the Bible since the age of six.

However, Lin is one of many Blazers who doesn't celebrate the traditional winter holidays Christmas, Kwanzaa and Chanukah. Some Jehovah's Witnesses, Buddhists, Seventh Day Adventists, Muslims, Mennonites, Quakers and atheists also don't commemorate the holidays because they either don't belong to the celebrating religion, or they have differing beliefs.

Different beliefs

As a non-denominational Christian, Lin follows a specific belief that adheres to everything the Bible says. She, as well as the members of her church, believes that Christianity has changed from its true meaning over the years, so she seeks a "recovery of truth." In other words, Christmas is one of the holidays that she believes has been taken out of the Bible's context. "They mention Jesus' birth, but nowhere do the disciples or apostles ever celebrate it," she says.

On the other hand, sophomore Colin Forhan doesn't celebrate any winter holidays for a different reason: he's atheist. Without a specific religion to follow, he doesn't celebrate the religious holidays or holidays in general. "I don't truly like the idea of celebrating any holidays because, as far as I'm concerned, they're just ordinary days," he says.

Forhan doesn't even believe in a New Year's Day. "Who's to say when one year begins and another ends?" he questions, citing that time zones cause discrepancies about when a new year begins. Moreover, he says, different religions follow different calendars and have different new years; all dates are relative.

Some people, such as senior Mariam Khan, celebrate their own holidays. Khan is Muslim and observes a month of fasting called Ramadan. Ramadan occurs during the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, which is about 11 days short of the Gregorian calendar. Every couple decades, Ramadan falls during the other winter holidays.

Joining peers

Khan, despite not believing in Saint Nicholas, participates in Secret Santa. "[I don't participate] necessarily for holiday spirit but for social reasons," she says, adding that she takes part in the activity to have fun with friends.

Unlike Khan, Lin doesn't actively participate in Christmas activities, but she still remains receptive to the holiday cheer. "I'm not going to go out and yell at people to stop celebrating Christmas," she says with a grimace. "That would be like suicide."

At first, Forhan felt excluded from the holiday festivities and cheer that his friends were enjoying. While many friends wanted him to join in on parties and activities, he excluded himself. Later, he finally decided to partake in Secret Santa to please his friends and share their happiness. "I try to be happy for them because they're able to find joy in a certain point in time," he says.

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  • boo! on December 23, 2004 at 7:47 PM
    woot! go varun!!!! <3 the article!!! =]

    hm...i have a question for you varun tho. sda's are christian why would they not celebrate christmas? i wondered why you mentioned it cuz im seventh day adventist and i celebrate christmas. its a very big deal at my church.
  • yay on December 25, 2004 at 4:11 PM
    go Varun for writing the article!! and go hailey for being interviewed!! =)
  • luke on December 26, 2004 at 10:57 PM
    thank god somebody else doesn't believe in new year's day! i thought i was the only one. oh, wait, colin forhan, you're an idiot. the new year begins after every complete revolution around the sun. who's to say, indeed, though, what point to start and end at? oh, wait, it doesn't matter because january first at 12am was the point agreed on by EVERYONE in western society, which we do in fact live in, to end the old 365-day revolution and begin the new 365-day revolution. just like everyone agreed that a second would end at the end of every second, an hour at the end of every hour, and a day at the end of every day. so do you not believe in any of our measurements of time? i mean, who's to say that today didn't start at 4:15:13.006 in the morning? ugh, stop trying to sound deep and smart and get over yourself.
  • bob! (View Email) on January 1, 2005 at 3:51 PM
    There's nothing taboo about celebrating and being in good cheer. If you're not going to celebrate christmas/hanukkah/kwanzaa/ then celebrate winter! Celebrate the solstice. Celebrate the fact that it's too cold to go outside so you're all sitting around toasting marshmallows or whatnot.

    Besides, millenia ago christmas was engineered to fall around the same days as the pagan solstice celebrations, to make the transition into christianity easier for those outside the faith who were used to wintertime festivity. All this birthday nonsense is an excuse to party.

    The bottom line is this: you can feel all cool about not celebrating the winter holidays, but you're only cheating yourself out of a lot of fun.
  • Malik on January 8, 2005 at 7:51 PM
    I am a Babtist Christian and I celebrate Christmas for the birth of Christ. St. Nicholas has his own day which is in the begging of December that some Europeans used to celebrate, and St. Nick has been distorted by America over time. The St. Nick we know today was engineered by some famous poet. Besides, the Christian sect that celebrates saints is Catholics. America has commercialized the holiday, but I go to church most of the day on Christmas.
  • marky on January 22, 2005 at 5:53 PM
    its good to celebrate christmas/channukah/kwanza because you get lots of presents for absolutely no reason
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