basic christmas terminology

kyle jew

time of christmas is when lack of knowledge about christianity, history and modern society is expressed.

here are some basic terms explained which can help you understand christmas better.

early days of christianity

christmas is a religious holiday. it is a celebration of birth of jesus christ, son of god, the half-god half-man with special powers who is the central point of christianity.

christianity is an abrahamic religion. other abrahamic religions are judaism and islam. all three are based on the same concept of one god, but disagree on who is a prophet. jews do not accept neither jesus not muhammad as prophets, and christians do not accept muhammad as prophet. everybody has their own books to back their own theological theories (old testament, new testament and qur’an).

roman empire

christianity took a positive turn towards global acceptance when roman empire adopted it a formal religion in 380 ad.

roman empire split up finally in 395 ad forming western and eastern roman empire. western was centralized in rome (vatican) and eastern in byzantine (istanbul). both were christian and western became what is know as catholic, while eastern became what is known as orthodox christianity.

little disagreements over who will do what in which protocol (especially when it comes to sexual habits of priests) and who will control which territory further fragmented christianity on both sides. fragmentation is still an ongoing process.

middle ages

now about how passage of time is documented – the calendars.

first major european calendar was made by julius ceasar – this one is called julian calendar. it had an error of few minutes per year. so pope gregor 13th made a more correct calendar which is in use wordwide today. this calendar is based on christianity as it starts on the year the christ was born (first christmas year).

there are many other calendars like jewish, chinese, maya…

some christian churches use gregorian calendar, some use julian calendar. most orthodox christian churches use julian calendar which is two weeks delayed. so if its 14th january in gregorian calendar its 1st january in julian calendar.

20th century

in late 19th and most of the 20th century there is an emergence of attempts to scientifically engineer a society. it took some 100 years and few hundred million dead to figure out this is not so easy as it seems. most aggressive methods of social engineering by these scientists came from communists. communism took a lot of control during 20th century and communists considered religion dangerous, and vice versa.

on the other side capitalists were also aggressive and very good with marketing so they redesigned old archetypes into modern commercial marketing projects. one of those was santa claus. based on the story of st. nicholas, after many revisions, capitalist system produced an icon for shopping (gift giving). from marketing point of view this is pure genius which still works. christmas shopping is a time when almost 25% of annual shopping is done in a period of only few weeks – an extreme boost in spending which stimulates economy and gdp enormously.

santa claus was super positive and popular and communists could not ignore it but santa was related to christmas, a religious holiday, so they had to make an adjustments and they readjusted santa to be a totally non religious character related to new year, an international holiday.

new year is far more popular in communist and orthodox countries where due to use of julian calendar new year comes before christmas, orthodox rituals are far more specific and religion oriented and religion was discriminated against.

so santa claus, capitalist commercial marketing project based on st. nicholas, was accepted in non-religious communism as an icon for a holiday which had no religions meaning, only that it is a celebration of 1st day of a new year.

christmas is not a religious holiday? wrong.

christmas is named after a son of god, a half-god which had unnatural powers. its a very specific religious celebration based on which all time measuring is done. if you do not respect the protocol then this is up to you but it is an extremely religious holiday and it is not celebrated by people of other religions and atheists. if you want a non religious holiday then there is new year or number of quite anonymous family holidays designed by organzations like un or world health organization.

sure, i will join any party, be it based on judaism, islam, christianity, hindu or just a local party about popcorn and sunshine, but it is not smart to pretend something is not what it is – christmas is the most important christian holiday and the most popular religious holiday world wide.

due to extreme media and film pressure world wide many people are very confused about what christmas is and they think its something about family and fun and gifts. again – that can be new year or any other celebration – like world diabetes day or something. its how you interpret it.

if you are not christian why are you celebrating the birth of a son of god?

santa claus is a christmas character? wrong.

santa claus started as a project related to christmas but due to its viral effect it is far more than that. same as viral marketing videos are distributed on facebook so the concept of santa claus over time became unreligious and international. it is one capitalist and christian concept which is accepted by almost all government systems and religions… simply because it helps retail sales a lot.

if you want proof then compare it to any other religious character which does not have such an economic influence and you will see. shiva, siddartha, archangel, abraham, mohammed or any number of religious characters can not even come close to santa claus who is probably more popular than jesus. however jesus is always present in media, while interest in santa claus peaks only for few weeks, but jesus does not help sales, he actually talks a lot about poverty and modesty, while santa directly promotes spending and materialist rewarding for good behavior.

materialist indoctrination of youth is something shared by all humans and this is the reason why santa is super universal.

i wish there was a santa claus version for b2b services and not only for b2c.

summary

this year, like every year since 1997 when i started meeting foreigners over internet, i will explain that not everybody in the world is christian and not everybody in the world uses the same calendar and that christimas is a very specific religious holiday (in spite of what hollywood movies claim).

the thing is that for better part of my life i lived in a system which had no contact with western capitalist christmas, and christmas for us, was just an obscure religios protocol which i tried once and was utterly bored. it also includes hours of standing in a cold and crowded church and making your home messy with hay and seeing your parents chant really crazy stuff. not fun at all.

i think communist culture made a good decision to just break the ice and move all the fun, family and commercial stuff to new year, and leave religion to religions ones, not to blur it and confuse the people. such extreme changes were possible in communist totalitarian society. capitalism on other hand depends on sales and is not able to react so quickly unless it affects profits negatively, meaning capitalism does not put important on ideological change as much as on material – which makes perfect sense.

tip

japanese, chinese, indian and east europeans most probably do not celebrate christmas. it always helps to check online what is the most dominant religion in a country and if it is a christian religion check what calendar it uses (for example greek orthodox use gregorian, and russian orthodox use julian).

marry christimas and sorry

so merry christmas to those who celebrate it by gregorian calendar.

and i know i will forget to congratulate other religious holidays to my jewish, islamic, hindu, buddhist etc friends. i apologize for this. there are so many of these.



merry christmas?       7:30pm 27th december 2010