...and as I was wandering out of the store with my butter and sugar and evaporated milk and razors, I started thinking about the whole holiday thing. I wasn't really even expecting Easter to pop up at me like this, because it's such an unexpected little holiday to start with.
I'm secure enough in my religion that I don't get offended or feel oppressed if someone is broadcasting holiday cheer for their particular holiday, or even broadcasting holiday cheer for any major media/retail holiday. I do get a little annoyed if someone makes assumptions about my personal beliefs (like "so what church are you attending Easter services at?") but I don't think that my having a happy easter is contingent upon my being Christian. I don't have a traumatic Christian background with the exception of my ex-fiancé BJ, so the emotional resonance of "Easter" is akin to the emotional resonance of "Tuesday", except with some more chocolate and visual pattern-recognition exercises involved. (Dad was a cunning bean-hider; we'd be finding jelly beans for months
, and he never counted how many he hid, either.)
I was thinking about the Christmas/Holiday/Season problem, and thinking about how I would have responded to the "Happy Easter!" if I'd been on my Pagan toes as well as my polite societal interaction toes, I would have said something. I figured that probably the only appropriate thing for me to have said to acknowledge the spirit the wish was given in as well as serve the "Hi, Other Religion Here!" purpose would to have been to wish the woman "Happy Ostara!" or something similar.
Getting mad at other people for showing off their happiness with their religious holidays in public places just does not make sense to me. That's the sort of thing that leads to wank and insanity. I do appreciate the attention to the generic holiday and the attempts to include as many relevant holidays as possible in any given excuse to celebrate and decorate and have good food. I really do appreciate these things. I don't think it's appropriate to contact any given organization that is not
a US government or government-sponsored entity and go "OMG TAKE IT DOWN RELIGION OW!" at them; it's their choice to celebrate holidays that they feel like celebrating.
A far more productive way to get attention for one's own religion would be to contact them and mention that you noticed that there was no mention of holiday foo in their celebratory materials, and it would be excellent if they included it (either now or next time). And yes, that can result in the occasional response along the lines of "Your holiday is not large or well-known enough for us to feel comfortable about celebrating it in public", with special attention to the dreaded "if we include holiday foo
, then groups that are not sane like you are sane will be after us to celebrate holiday bar
which is a frivolous holiday", but at least it would be a polite inquiry asking for inclusion rather than a heated scolding for being exclusive bastards in response to a gesture that was intended to be friendly and happy.
(And trust me, one thing that any small-but-dedicated cause or religion does not need is a bad rep with potentially powerful entities, and bitching/whining/berating will bring on a bad rep faster than stepping on a banana peel on an oiled cookie tray sliding down an icy hill. Best way to ensure that your pet cause will never
be acknowledged by whoever you're contacting is to pull an attitude when they fail to notice that they needed to acknowledge it in the first place and you're the first one telling them that they should have.)
That was my five minutes of thought on my way out to the car. Naturally, when I got home, after calling the police about the crazy guy without his meds (story to follow, omg), I discovered that LJ had made Yet Another Holiday Banner in honor of Easter, and wank had broken out
In light of the "OMG ALL LJ ARE XIAN" over there, I personally find a particular sequence of events that played out on IRC tonight to be absolutely fucking hilarious
1) Some bloke (volunteer) notes that one of the components of the holiday banner is broken.
2) M, the bloke who LJ employs to keep the site ticking during the off-hours (LJ identity unknown) fixes it.
3) Same LJ employee wanders downstairs three minutes later and claims the last piece of chocolate matzoh. Now, you don't have to be religiously Jewish to enjoy chocolate matzoh, but it's a rather culturally Jewish holiday treat.