Asalamu Alaikum Sisters!
As we all know, Christmas isn't something to celebrate in Islam. And as I noted in my Thanksgiving post, Christmas is another capitalistic scheme put up by corporations and has its roots in pagan traditions. I shun this and any other holiday that uses consumers (Valentines Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas of course) in their plot to gain more money. But I cannot deny the spiritual aspects of Christmas, the message of family, love and worship are ones that I can identify with since Jesus (alayhi salam) was one of the greatest prophets of Islam. But how can we lie to our children on several aspects of the holiday? My parents told me Santa was real and we set out sandwiches and milk one year -we didn't buy cookies that time- and now that I look back on it (wasn't long ago) I actually wanted my parents to tell me it wasn't part of Islam and that we should be satisfied with our two Eids. But whatever one's personal experience with Christmas as child be, we all know now that Santa wasn't part of the Bible and Christmas wasn't either. No one really knows when Jesus (as) was born and this practice of Christmas wasn't adopted by the Catholic Church until the year 530 C.E., that a monk, Dionysus Exigus, fixed the date of the birth of Jesus on Dec. 25th. "He wrongly dated the birth of Christ according to the Roman system (i.e., 754 years after the founding of Rome) as Dec. 25, 753". (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1998 ed.) This date was chosen perhaps in keeping with the holidays already indoctrinated into pagans. And this Santa Claus character? There's a whole article on that, but to keep it simple, Santa Claus was actually Saint Nicholas who lived in southern Turkey, then Asia Minor, during the first half of the fourth century, but nothing was recorded about his life until more than two hundred and fifty years after his death. Less than a hundred years after his death, he was worshiped as a saint for his legendary deeds, such as :
* A neighbor lost all his money becoming destitute with his three daughters and, to prevent them having to earn their living by prostitution, he threw them three bags of gold through the window.
* Nicholas became a model of, generosity and protection to the oppressed People, children without any money, he was Particularly good at looking after children. St. Nicholas, legend has it, resurrected three boys cut up by an innkeeper and pickled in brine, to be sold off to unsuspecting customers.
A church in Bari,Italy then claimed to have his bones. So the Catholic Church, after hearing of this, conspired to steal the bones to make the city a magnet for pilgrims. Ever since, the Catholic Church has helped to promote an annual festival to celebrate this profitable act of piracy. Add in hundreds of years different stories across Europe, it came to America in 1809 when an amusing but inaccurate history of Dutch traditions was written. Washington Irving, influenced by north European Christmas customs, pictured St. Nicholas riding in a wagon merrily over rooftops, dropping presents down chimneys, the first time this had been sighted.
In 1821, Clement Moore, a theology professor and an expert in European folklore, developed this character in a poem he wrote for his children, "Twas the night before Christmas" ring a bell? Charles Dickens then further popularizes Christmas with his novel A Christmas Carol. It made Christmas personal and for the middle class. Fast forward this craze where more people were trying to make the Skinny Elf called Santa into a jolly tub o' money-making lard, they finally agreed on Thomas Nast and his dramatic change from the gnome-like figure that other artists had used before into a self-portrait of himself. He always portrayed himself as fat and jolly and this was his own self-portrait. Now who would globalize this American version of Saint Nick? Coca-Cola! They were a soft drink company struggling to sell cold-drinks during the cold times so the company wanted to figure out a way to associate the product with the holiday season. In the end, they turned to an illustrator named Haddon Sunblum. Sunblum concluded the spirit of the holiday was really Santa Claus, and Santa Claus had this enormous task facing him every Christmas Eve and that was to go around the world, in an evening, distributing, toys to children everywhere and obviously he would get tired and would eventually become thirsty and need a refreshment, so what better idea than to have Santa pausing in his rounds in various scenes enjoying a Coca Cola? To make a long story short, Christmas wasn't far from commercialization and in this big world of money, the back story had to be equally shady. Have a nice break from school and work fellow sisters!
I know I will B)
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