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A quick search on Google will come up with several Christian holidays including:

  • Valentine's Day
  • Good Friday
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas

However, in many multi-cultural countries, there are often holidays which are from other religions, other beliefs or even tradition itself. For example a Chinese Christian celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival. Is that allowed?

PS: Today is Mid-Autumn Festival, the 15th day of the 8th Month on the Lunar Calendar. Chinese celebrate this day by bring out laterns, eating mooncakes, and reciting poems. It's kind of a tradition to me personally, but there are beliefs and myths behind the festival.

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5 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Thanksgiving is actually an American holiday, not a Christian one. Valentine's Day is also American (but there is a Saint Valentine sometimes associated with the holiday, though I don't often see him associated with the day at Church very often).

In any case, Christianity certainly allows people to celebrate secular holidays, so long as it does not conflict with Christian teaching. It also allows should allow nominal celebration of non-Christian, non-Secular (in origin) holidays so long as there is nothing in the celebration that conflicts with Christian beliefs.

We are allowed to do anything so long as it is for the glory of God, and we do it with clear conscience that it does not express devotion to anyone other than God and does not cause our brothers and sisters in Christ to stumble from being scandalized (see 1 Corinthians 10:23-33).

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I think saying "Thanksgiving is an American Holiday, not a Christian one" is wrong. It's true that it's an American holiday, but it is also a Christian holiday. It's not Christian in the sense of coming from the Bible, but it's stated purpose is to give thanks to God, within a Christian context. –  Flimzy Sep 12 '11 at 16:24
    
@Flimzy the context given in that speech could easily be interpreted as Jewish, Muslim, or just about any other mono-theistic religion. –  Beofett Sep 12 '11 at 16:56
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@Beofett: Abraham Lincoln is well known to have been a professing Christian. And he gave this proclamation at a time when there was no social stigma against being a Christian. So I think it's safe to say that when he spoke of God, it was within a Christian context. He had no reason to mince words, as modern Christian politicians often do, to avoid sounding narrow-minded. –  Flimzy Sep 12 '11 at 17:12
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@Boefett: Non-denominational is not even close to the same thing as "inclusive of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam." –  Flimzy Sep 12 '11 at 17:55
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@Flimzy, there's still no social stigma against being a Christian. In the US, in fact, very much the opposite. There is, however, more awareness that not everyone is Christian, and that Christian politicians should be aware of that fact when claiming to speak for their constituents. –  TRiG Sep 12 '11 at 21:42
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Nature worship is considered grave matter (i.e. sinful) because of the first commandment no gods before Me.

Barring that traditions, patriotism and culture are compatible with Christian living. Christianity grew up out of tradition and takes its form in the various parts of the earth because of the local traditions.

That being said, follow your conscience, intemperate celebration is a good way to forget about God. If you are required to attend Mass or your services on a holiday, put God first and attend. We've always worked to Christianize pagan holidays in the past, there's no reason we can't continue to do it in the 'multi-cultural' world.

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It should be noted that this is a very Catholic view: "attend Mass" is putting "Church" first, not God (in this mostly-raised-as-catholic-but-now-more-or-less-protestant Christian's view). –  Jürgen A. Erhard Sep 12 '11 at 17:22
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@Jurgen that doesn't need to diminish the truth or universality of what I'm trying to say. 7th Day Adventists, Jews and Muslims have a day they keep as holy too. For Jews at least, the Sabbath would take precedence over secular celebrations or events. I'm a little curious at some of the protestant reasoning behind not requiring attendance at their services, especially on the great solemnities. I mean, is Easter and Christmas about family or about God? –  Peter Turner Sep 12 '11 at 18:06
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@Jurgen It's not putting "Church" first, before God, when the celebration of the Mass is entirely all about God. In fact, one could say that putting Church (i.e. Mass) first is putting God first, as we only go to Mass to reconnect with God. –  Ben Richards Sep 12 '11 at 21:29
    
@JürgenA.Erhard Since the Church is the Body of Christ, isn't "putting the Church first" putting the Body of Christ first? –  Ignatius Theophorus Aug 23 '13 at 5:59
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The first Christians were Jewish. In fact, Christianity is really "fulfilled" Judaism, in that the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies are found in Jesus. So, Jewish Christians (or Messianic Jews) celebrate Jewish holidays today and always have--even from the time of Christ.

There is no prohibition to non-Jewish believers regarding the celebration of other holidays, and Christianity is not about prohibitions anyway, but about forgiveness and redemption through faith in Jesus. It is true that we are called to holy living, so as long as the celebration of holidays does not impede holiness, there really isn't any problem with that.

Of course, the celebration of other deities would be prohibited whether or not it is done on a holiday or not.

This could be considered an area where it depends on individual conscience, like eating meat sacrificed to idols that Paul mentions.

As a footnote, Christmas and Easter can be celebrated in completely secular ways, which I would say is not wrong, but definitely not Christian. If Christmas is focused on getting gifts and a fat man in a red suit, there's really nothing Christian about that. And rabbits and eggs certainly do not qualify for a celebration of the single most important event in all Christendom. So, even celebrating religious holidays does not mean that those are sacred observances, if they are done in a secular manner.

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Pope Pius IX has condemned such activity if it is religious in nature.

Pope Pius IX, Graves ac diuturnae (# 4), March 23, 1875:

“They [the faithful] should totally shun their religious celebrations, their buildings, and their chairs of pestilence which they have with impunity established to transmit the sacred teachings. They should shun their writings and all contact with them. They should not have any dealings or meetings with usurping priests and apostates from the faith who dare to exercise the duties of an ecclesiastical minister without possessing a legitimate mission or any jurisdiction.”

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Could you give a bit of your own commentary here? Quoting the Pope is a great idea, but can you expand on what it means and how it applies to the question? –  wax eagle Sep 12 '11 at 21:10
    
@wax eagle Like how Catholics are supposed to listen to what the Pope says? Isn't that implied? What exactly is missing? The question was about holidays and the Pope is weighing in on religious celebrations. How is that not related. I have no idea what you want. –  apocalypse_info_click_here Sep 12 '11 at 21:16
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God is truth and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. John 4:24. Celebrating anything with roots outside of what God deemed as acceptable (Christmas, Easter, etc., as both have pagan roots) is detestable (Leviticus 18:30, Dueteronomy 7:25,26; Dueteronomy 18:9) in the sight of God. Yes, Christ came to fulfill the law so we are no longer judged by it, but why would a christian want to commit an act that is detestable to God? I challenge all christians to identify the real reasons we want to celebrate secular holidays and use them to "thank or glorify God." If we are honest with ourselves we will realize it is not out of obediance to God, but a desire to fit with the secular world and our family, friends and memories attached to these holidays. I urge all to read what happened to the sons of Aaron (Nadab and Abihu) when as chosen priests they offered to God as worship what God did not deem as acceptable in Leviticus 10:1,2. God is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) and the truth is... God accepts worship how He wants because He can. For us to jusify attitudes, beliefs, and actions that are not scriptural is offensive to the one who created us if for nothing other than the sole reason we have elevated our views above His.

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Again, welcome to C.SE. Well supported answer, but if you could identify your perspective / tradition, it would help tremendously! –  Affable Geek Dec 13 '12 at 16:42
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