Social Question

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

In a Atheist Universe, is there a replacement for Easter, Halloween, or Christmas... etc?

Asked by RealEyesRealizeRealLies (30938points) December 11th, 2011

Would they need replacing? Is New Years enough?

Personally, I think there are way too many holidays to begin with.

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23 Answers

bkcunningham's avatar

There is still Ground Hog Day, President’s Day, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Earth Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Flag Day, Columbus Day, Veteran’s Day, Flag Day…

LuckyGuy's avatar

Don’t forget “Festivus for the rest of us”.
All the solstices.
I’d also have a celebration every time there was an eclipse.

Fly's avatar

If I didn’t want to celebrate these holidays because of their religious backgrounds, I simply wouldn’t celebrate them, as many people choose to do. However, these holidays have meanings beyond that of the religious aspect and have become an integral part of my culture regardless of their origins; I have absolutely no desire to cease in celebrating them simply because of my personal religious beliefs.

Also, you mention Halloween as a holiday that might be replaced, but that doesn’t seem to be a holiday that has any modern religious ties, so I don’t see any reason why it would need replacing in an “Atheist Universe.”

lillycoyote's avatar

Human beings have festivals and celebrations; we like, enjoy and need them. I think it is in our nature. We would find a way. There is always something to celebrate, with or without a god, and always something to mourn. That is the nature of our existence, I think.

JLeslie's avatar

I agree with @fly. I still do some, not all, of the Jewish holidays for cultural and traditional reasons. I do Christmas with friends or family (my husband’s family is Catholic) sometimes. I celebrate the secular holidays associated with my country, like Thanksgiving, Juy 4th, etc.

I guess if there was no religion at all in the atheist universe we would not do any of rhe holidays associated with religion, but we still might celebrate the country holidays marking significant events and celebrations for the harvest, or spring, etc.

mazingerz88's avatar

Easily. “Fry An Egg and a Rabbit Holiday” for Easter. “Politicians Are Stinky Zombies Day” for Halloween and “Walmart Day” for Christmas! kidding!

Sunny2's avatar

Atheists, and anybody else, may celebrate any holidays they wish. I don’t believe there are any holidays they have named to substitute for Christian or any other religious holidays. There’s always the “Let’s have a Party Day”, secular national holidays, patriotic and otherwise, like Groundhog’s Day, Valentine’s Day and the like. Ritual holidays are not necessarily part of everyone’s life. Imagine if it was required that we celebrate one holiday per week! Our whole economic system would turn topsy-turvy.

lillycoyote's avatar

I think there are, sadly, a reasonably large number of Americans who could really get behind “Walmart Day” as a substitute for Christmas, @mazingerz88. I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss it. “Fry a Rabbit” Day, on the other hand? Not so much maybe.

SmashTheState's avatar

I refuse to celebrate any holidays. I don’t recognize christmas or new years or birthdays or groundhog day or arbour day or easter or secretary day or victoria day or loyalty day or whatever other bullshit the churches, the State, and Hallmark have manufactured to promote their self-interest. My experience is that people use “special days” as a way of making themselves feel better for treating everyone like shit the rest of the year. If you can’t treat me with kindness, dignity, and respect all year ‘round, I don’t want a fucking pair of argyle socks on christmas.

We don’t need replacement holidays, we need to eliminate holidays and instead commit to stop acting like utter douchenozzles to each other.

ratboy's avatar

@lillycoyote—I see where you’re coming from with the “Fry a Rabbit Day;” rabbits should be broiled and served with a poached egg.

cookieman's avatar

Anti-Douchenozzle Day
Hmmm…kinda catchy

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Well, to those that claim Halloween or Zombie Day… My point is that an Atheist Universe may not have any concept of Gouls or Spirits at all.

I understand Atheists who participate in religious holidays on a purely cultural level. But that misses the point of this question.

I’m not sure that Thanksgiving would even qualify for celebration in an Atheist Universe.

JLeslie's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Yeah, but the candy would still exist. Thanksgiving was for surviving the winter and the plentiful harvest.

wonderingwhy's avatar

Like most things they only have the meaning you ascribe to them. I celebrate christmas which includes saying the dreaded “merry christmas” to people oooo scary! /sarcasm but it has nothing whatsoever to do with any religious concern.

I do however think we could just maybe do away with a few holidays, say whittle it down to one a month, and make each a federal/financial holiday.

I also wouldn’t mind seeing a couple of those turned into genuine retail holidays as well, where everything is closed for the day and people are encouraged to spend time with family, their community, or even just sleeping in or getting outside.

JLeslie's avatar

@wonderingwhy Are you still in the atheist universe with your suggestions? Or are you talking generally in America with how it is now? The whittle down to one a month, and retail holidays? I disagree with the idea completely if you are keeping the religious holidays around. I have totally different days I celebrate than my neighbor. Who is going to decide which holidays to get rid of, and why would the US government make Rosh Hashana a federal holiday?

Blackberry's avatar

What @LuckyGuy said: I mean, you guys have to be aware that life existed and people celebrated things before Jesus, right? C’mon now.

wonderingwhy's avatar

@JLeslie First paragraph, just a general comment. Second and Third I’m using the the US holiday scheme as a backdrop, but sticking to the ‘atheist universe’ idea. So no, the religious holidays wouldn’t be around at least not in a religious sense as there would be no religion though, for whatever reason, those days may (or may not) still be considered holidays.

There’s also another note running through there, the idea that I think it is healthy for society as a whole to have on or two strongly recognized holidays. Something that ideally all or at least the vast majority of society identify with which, admittedly, goes beyond the scope of the question but it worked itself in anyway.

JLeslie's avatar

@wonderingwhy I agree it is a nice idea to have holidays that the whole country celebrates that are void of religious connection. I consider Thanksgiving and July 4th to be that type of holiday (although, I had a long Q with people arguing Thanksgiving is religious). Both of those I prefer retail be closed for the most part, and also New Years day. It really annoys me the malls started opening on New Years day. The rest of the holidays, even the religious ones, I think it should cater to the community, and have understanding for the employees. Some stores are now open Easter Sunday where I live, which I think is ridiculous, but where I used to live I think it would have been fine, because so many Jewish people lived there.

We of course have other holidays like Veterans Day, Memorial Day etc, which also are secular and some communities I have lived in do more on those days than others.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@JLeslie But who were they thanking? Yes, the event acknowledged making it through the winter. But they were giving thanks for that. I suppose they could have been thanking the Indians that helped them. But I always got the impression they were thanking God for survival, and inviting some Indians along to share in the celebration. I dunno really.

@Blackberry Well sure there were celebrations before Christianity. Were’nt most of them thanking some diety for the harvest season or thanking the higher powers for triumph in war… Or human sacrificial ceremonies? I dunno really.

JLeslie's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Here is my Q about Thanksgiving being a religious holiday; I don’t remember if you were on it. I think at the time of the first Thanksgiving probably religious people thanked God as they do today, and non-religious or atheists wouldn’t. Thanksgiving is not a holiday given to us by the bible, religious scholars, or clergy. The federal government cannot create a religious holiday. Most, if not all, religious holidays are pertinent to one religion. Christians in Lebanon do not celebrate American Thanksgiving, but they celebrate Christmas, because Christmas is a religious holiday, and Thanksgiving isn’t. Thanksgiving is am American holiday, where some goce thanks to God. Religious people thank God every day, some at every meal, some pray every morning before they start their day, some every night before they sleep. Thanking God does not make a holiday religious. We could probably thank God for our independence, making July 4th celebration religious wiith that reasoning.

SmashTheState's avatar

I saw a routine once by a First Nations comedian who said his white friends ask him what he does for thanksgiving. He says he invites his white neighbour over to “discover” his apartment, and force him to live in the bathroom.

Blackberry's avatar

@Realeyes It’s kind of difficult to compare our two cultures due to the vast gap in our knowledge and abilities? Of course those people were going to thank gods and believe in gods, but how many do that now? Even the most religious people know to thank an actual person instead of some god for everything, right?

I don’t know, really. I can think of hundreds of things to thank besides a god: the sun, humans, the tilt of the earth, water etc.

lloydbird's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies
It could be argued that the three festivals that you have cited are already atheistic in origin.

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