I was surprised about the recent uproar by certain Christians over Halaal stickers on hot cross buns in Woolworths. I was surprised because anyone who takes Christianity that seriously would know that among many other things Christians partake in, the cross and hot cross buns are not necessarily Christian. Incidentally, don't believe *everything* you read in Wikipedia or anywhere else for that matter, the equal-armed cross is much more likely to represent a solar cross or solar wheel than the four quarters of the moon.
There are some Christians who advocate not celebrating Christmas, because they know that most of the trimmings are pagan in origin and that bothers them because, well it's not Christian. Incidentally, if anything appears in the Old Testament of the Bible it is not a Christian tradition per se as Christ was not born yet.
In case you didn't know, here are just a few major traditions that are pagan in origin:
- Christmas tree and holly (evergreen trees representing endurance of winter)
- Christmas tinsel (representing snow in winter)
- Easter eggs and bunnies (represent new life in spring)
- New Year's resolutions ("turning over a new leaf" reflecting the loss of leaves by deciduous trees in winter and the growth of new ones in spring)
- Christmas greetings, greeting cards and carols (from "wassailing", i.e. wishing blessings of good health and prosperity for the new harvest period)
Paganism is about living in harmony with Nature. Pagans are people of the earth not people of the book. As a Pagan, I find it offensive that Easter goodies are advertised and sold in autumn (since Easter was once a spring festival celebrating new life) and Christmas goodies are advertised and sold in summer (since Christmas was once the celebration of the return of the Sun at the Winter Solstice). I would prefer that this happened at the appropriate time of year, but hey Africa's not for sissies. Woolworths and other retailers pander far more to Christians than any other religious group in this country, and they are the ones complaining?
I find it offensive that people expect me to greet them Happy Christmas and don't bother to find out what my religion is about or wish me a happy Solstice. I find it offensive that people say Christian prayers at places of work and school without being sensitive to people of other religions. I and many other South African Pagans grin and bear it, for the sake of peace and for the sake of the happiness of our children who would be ostracized if we made a fuss about it. For goodness sake, please get off your cross. We need the wood.