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Author Topic: Engaging in Holidays Belonging to Other Religions  (Read 1983 times)

Juni

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Engaging in Holidays Belonging to Other Religions
« on: April 10, 2012, 02:35:17 pm »
By which I mean in a religious manner, not a secular one.

Basically: You belong to religion X. A holiday belongs to religion Z. You want to celebrate/participate in the holiday despite this.

Do you do it? Do you have any criteria or restrictions to what you participate in and what you don't? Do you involve yourself with the originating community when you do so? Do you pull the pieces of the holiday/traditions that resonate and leave the rest, or do you go for full immersion? (Aside from bits that are restricted to members only- I'm thinking taking the Eucharist here, but it could be anything.)

I am asking, in my typically less than eloquent manner, because it's something that's been on my mind especially lately, what with Pesach and Easter and the inclusion of Jesus and a variety of Christian saints into my Revered Dead. So I'm curious about how others handle it.
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Valentine

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Re: Engaging in Holidays Belonging to Other Religions
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2012, 03:38:42 pm »
Quote from: Juni;49574
By which I mean in a religious manner, not a secular one.

Basically: You belong to religion X. A holiday belongs to religion Z. You want to celebrate/participate in the holiday despite this.

Do you do it? Do you have any criteria or restrictions to what you participate in and what you don't? Do you involve yourself with the originating community when you do so? Do you pull the pieces of the holiday/traditions that resonate and leave the rest, or do you go for full immersion? (Aside from bits that are restricted to members only- I'm thinking taking the Eucharist here, but it could be anything.)

I am asking, in my typically less than eloquent manner, because it's something that's been on my mind especially lately, what with Pesach and Easter and the inclusion of Jesus and a variety of Christian saints into my Revered Dead. So I'm curious about how others handle it.

 
For me, I think, it's a matter of personal connection?  I celebrate with loved ones.  So, with Christian loved ones, I'm pretty happy to honor Jesus and Easter and so on.  (I go to Roman Catholic mass now and then, for my devout grandfather's sake, and I pretty regularly go to have chats with Our Lady of Guadalupe down at the basilica.  Family matters.)  I married a Persian woman, so I feel okay celebrating Nowruz, because it's a family holiday and I'm part of the family.  If Wiccan friends want me to come to a Beltane party, I am happy to join them there.  I try to be respectful and follow rules--I don't take Communion at a Catholic church, for instance, because it's not for non-Catholics, and when I'm in someone else's ritual I hush up and take a backseat and let them do things their way--but yeah.  For me, the rule is, do I have actual community to these people, is there a bond of love and accountability.  If I'm not actually connected, I don't do it.

This has been an interesting question for me lately, because I am so close to so many Christians right now, and sing in a chapel chorale.  So I'm in Christian services a lot, and with people who are aware of my religious affiliations and embrace me as I am and want me in their community.  So I embrace them in turn.  As of very recently, if I'm at a Christian service and people know I'm not Christian and don't intend to be, and they offer me Eucharist and say they explicitly offer it to anyone as part of their community, I take it.  It's a big change for me.  I wouldn't do it if I weren't involved in their community and, above-board and honestly, part of working with and for them.

It's fuzzier with my attachment to Santa Muerte and the Day of the Dead.  I'll think on that one a bit.
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Re: Engaging in Holidays Belonging to Other Religions
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2012, 05:47:12 pm »
Quote from: Juni;49574

Do you do it? Do you have any criteria or restrictions to what you participate in and what you don't? Do you involve yourself with the originating community when you do so? Do you pull the pieces of the holiday/traditions that resonate and leave the rest, or do you go for full immersion? (Aside from bits that are restricted to members only- I'm thinking taking the Eucharist here, but it could be anything.)

 
I don't do anything contrary to my commitments to the gods and myself.

However, that doesn't actually remove much.  Certain vows, perhaps.

As some folks know, I live in a very mixed-religion household.  And, through some amusing accidents of life, I seem to have wound up as the keeper of the family religious calendar.  Which means that I am better at tracking when various Jewish holidays fall than the actual Jewish person in the house, who is nonetheless pleased when I send one of the boys out for hamantashen or whatever else.

I think the thing I do in my personal practice mostly orbits around food.  The Celt was too stressed out from grad school one year to mark Imbolc, and was kind of an emotional wreck about it; I went and prepared a version of our standard ritual dinner for him.  E is too overwhelmed to consider holding a seder for Passover; I cooked horseradish-encrusted roast for dinner last night and served it with matzo ball soup.  Food is fundamental.
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Asch

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Re: Engaging in Holidays Belonging to Other Religions
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2012, 07:21:05 pm »
Quote from: Juni;49574
By which I mean in a religious manner, not a secular one.

Basically: You belong to religion X. A holiday belongs to religion Z. You want to celebrate/participate in the holiday despite this.

Do you do it? Do you have any criteria or restrictions to what you participate in and what you don't? Do you involve yourself with the originating community when you do so? Do you pull the pieces of the holiday/traditions that resonate and leave the rest, or do you go for full immersion? (Aside from bits that are restricted to members only- I'm thinking taking the Eucharist here, but it could be anything.)

I am asking, in my typically less than eloquent manner, because it's something that's been on my mind especially lately, what with Pesach and Easter and the inclusion of Jesus and a variety of Christian saints into my Revered Dead. So I'm curious about how others handle it.

 
I participate as much as good taste and the will of the hosting group requires. For instance I will bow my head and fold my hands during a meal prayer to a deity I don't follow as a gesture of respect to the occasion, hosts, and deity in question. Similarly I would not participate in the clearly religious aspect of a celebration say taking communion because it would be wildly inappropriate.

But I wouldn't pitch a fit if I were asked to do more, I wouldn't make a stink about being a Pagan and not being respected etc. That would be rude on numerous levels and hugely embarrassing for all involved. Besides if I'm there I likely knew what I was getting into and CHOSE to be there.

For example I was named a god mother to a friend's child but never went through the ceremony her religion usually required because A. we both felt it wasn't necessary, and B. her choice and my outsider status would have caused a storm of drama neither of us were interested in, she said it and as far as we were concerned, it was.

Bit rambly but there it is.

Auress

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Re: Engaging in Holidays Belonging to Other Religions
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2012, 07:32:11 pm »
Quote from: Juni;49574
By which I mean in a religious manner, not a secular one.

Basically: You belong to religion X. A holiday belongs to religion Z. You want to celebrate/participate in the holiday despite this.

Do you do it? Do you have any criteria or restrictions to what you participate in and what you don't? Do you involve yourself with the originating community when you do so? Do you pull the pieces of the holiday/traditions that resonate and leave the rest, or do you go for full immersion? (Aside from bits that are restricted to members only- I'm thinking taking the Eucharist here, but it could be anything.)

I am asking, in my typically less than eloquent manner, because it's something that's been on my mind especially lately, what with Pesach and Easter and the inclusion of Jesus and a variety of Christian saints into my Revered Dead. So I'm curious about how others handle it.


I don't really have a set religion. Pagan is just a generalized term. "Not Christian" would be a better defining label.

My husband, however, used to be a very fierce Jesus believer. His family are all pious Southern Baptists. Therefore, I have no real choice but to engage in popularized Christian holidays. Christmas, Easter, .....well those are the only two.

Hubby, though, has decided in the last few months that he is no longer a Christian, and is more agnostic or perhaps Buddhist. Therefore, now we are BOTH sort of still under obligation to be "joiners" rather than those who just celebrate what we want.

I wouldn't celebrate Christmas at all if I weren't married and didn't have kids. Truth. I would shun that holiday like a gut wagon because of the negativity and stress that it breeds. Sometimes I'd like to go inside my house on November 1st and not come out until Walpurgis Nacht and Vappu (May Day). Easter isn't bad for stress, but I just have no real reason to celebrate it since I already celebrate Equinox.

Since the kids are pretty much grown now, we don't get too way out with Christmas and Easter. We don't buy tons of things and the kids get a couple big items and that's about it. We don't go all out with decorations and parties and blah blah.

As for Wiccan holidays, because I used to be Wiccan, I still celebrate all 8 of them. However, Imbolc is losing me. I just have never felt a connection to it and am finding less and less reason to celebrate it. Same for Lammas, but I still have a very thin connection to it because of harvest seasons. I have to have a connection to a holiday to celebrate it. Either religiously or heredity or philosophy or something. I've added some holidays because I'm trying to start a relationship with the Finnish Gods. Finnish pagan holidays are making a debut in my calendar, now.

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Re: Engaging in Holidays Belonging to Other Religions
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2012, 07:35:30 pm »
Quote from: Juni;49574

I am asking, in my typically less than eloquent manner, because it's something that's been on my mind especially lately, what with Pesach and Easter and the inclusion of Jesus and a variety of Christian saints into my Revered Dead. So I'm curious about how others handle it.

 
The context matters a lot to me.

I went to the Easter Vigil last year (not this one) because a dear friend was converting to Catholicism, and asked me to be there. I said some stuff, sang some stuff, didn't say other things, and didn't sing some things. (This sometimes meant I'd sing half a sentence and then skip the other half, but hey, no one really noticed or cared.) And it was a very nice service.

I of course didn't take communion, nor did I say ritual statements (the creed, the Lord's Prayer) where I am not in agreement with the theology. Helped that I'm a former Catholic, so I knew what was coming. (Basically, I'm fine with Jesus was the Son of God, and said some really awesome things. I'm not okay with repeating in ritual space language about salvation or Jesus being the one path to it. Or with taking ritual actions - and that includes communion in most contexts, even if it's open to people not of that church. That's what respectful silence is for.)

I'd likely do the same thing in most other religious settings - weddings, funerals, etc. - and perhaps be a little more relaxed about what I will and won't do myself, since those things are ritual community events with a function for those people in community, at that particular moment, as much as reinforcing ritual practice or creed.

I've been thinking about this because I live about an hour now from the last remaining Shaker community (there's three of them left) and they open up the 1790s meeting house for service once it gets warm enough in the spring, and invite people to join them for worship.

While there's parts of the Shaker theology I don't agree with (being polytheistic, for a start), there's a lot I find very admirable in their practices and priorities. Plus, chance to hear a fascinating musical tradition, some of which has *never* been recorded or written down, in sacred space? I am so there.

But the trick there is that they are very deliberately inclusive: they welcome people to come and participate and try things out, without any assumption of commitment or mutual belief or anything else - all they ask is respect for the space and the other people there. That context makes a big difference to me.
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Asch

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Re: Engaging in Holidays Belonging to Other Religions
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2012, 08:07:24 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;49629
But the trick there is that they are very deliberately inclusive: they welcome people to come and participate and try things out, without any assumption of commitment or mutual belief or anything else - all they ask is respect for the space and the other people there. That context makes a big difference to me.


That's so darn true. Most of the mixed faith etc things I've been involved in are not thinly veiled excuses to convert the masses or preach but sincerely open and inclusive situations. Far more comfortable for all I think. When I was young'un in JH the Young Life group was infamous for putting on fun things that most teenagers couldn't resist then slamming you with fire and brimstone at the end. Very tedious. I used to make a habit of ducking out early or visiting the bathroom until my ride showed up ... I may not have been actually Pagan until recently but I spent a very long time taking the baby steps to get here lol

Aine Rayne

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Re: Engaging in Holidays Belonging to Other Religions
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2012, 05:54:49 pm »
Quote from: Juni;49574

Do you do it? Do you have any criteria or restrictions to what you participate in and what you don't? Do you involve yourself with the originating community when you do so? Do you pull the pieces of the holiday/traditions that resonate and leave the rest, or do you go for full immersion? (Aside from bits that are restricted to members only- I'm thinking taking the Eucharist here, but it could be anything.)

 
Well, this was my first Easter as a non-Christian, though only two of my family members know that. Three, actually, but my twin sister doesn't care as long as I'm happy and not in a cult, I could be a mime and she'd think it was weird but would leave it alone lol Of course, I didn't go to church with my mother, and by the grace of the gods she didn't try and get me to go and my other family members didn't ask (although they tried, they asked my twin by accident, who did in fact attend church XD). I guess I can't exactly answer this question since I didn't go to church. I would really prefer not to participate in those things anymore, too many people know me and would question me and try to persuade me and yaddayaddayadda. Not to mention if I answer truthfully it will absolutely be relayed back to my mother, and I'm just not ready for that conversation yet. Honestly though, it's highly likely I'll still have a Christian wedding. It would just be too much hassle between my and my boyfriend's family to try and do anything different. We're kinda surrounded by Christians in our families, and he's still "in between" religions as it were.

I guess in a sense I'll still celebrate Easter and Christmas with my family, I just won't lead dinner prayers. After all it's still their holidays and I still want to spend time with them, I'll just have to figure out a way to avoid the question over my church attendance. Once that question is posed I'll be set on the path to what will likely be the most dreaded conversation in my life. Although, now that I consider it, I've never taken communion, in my church only baptized members took communion. Meh, I'll figure it out eventually.
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savveir

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Re: Engaging in Holidays Belonging to Other Religions
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2012, 12:47:01 am »
Quote from: Valentine;49591
For me, I think, it's a matter of personal connection?  I celebrate with loved ones.

 
That's pretty much how I feel about it. I have no problem if someone has asked me to attend an event to support them. However I do have a problem with it when I'm forced into it. It might seem like a small difference but if my attendance is demanded it's going to get my back up.
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