I am not sure if time has changed or if time has changed us.
Once upon a time ago, being born and raised in Hawaii, the innocence of Christmas was synonymous with the arrival of cold weather, Matson cargo containers brimming with Douglas Fir, Sears (one of Hawaii’s largest retailers) would signal the arrival of Christmas with their store filled with elaborate Christmas decorations, toys, Santa’s work shop, Christmas music, food stuff, just full of everything. All the retailers large and small participated in the spirit of Christmas. Christmas music filled the air!
“The song “Mele Kalikimaka” (pronounced [ˈmɛlɛ kəˌlikiˈmɐkə]) is a Hawaiian-themed Christmas song written in 1949 by Robert Alex Anderson in 1949, but made popular around the world by Bing Crosby and The Andrew Sisters in 1950. “Mele Kalikimaka” is “Hawaii’s way of saying Merry Christmas to you” as The Andrew Sisters sing, and is commonly used as our holiday greeting.” Source: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
There was no hesitation about Christmas being Christmas, or sharing goodwill and cheer to everyone. The Salvation Army volunteers stood and braved the cold weather ringing their bells loud and clear, in hopes the passing crowd looking to shop could spare loose change for the needy. A few wore Santa’s red suit with shiny black buckles.
Those days, it seemed to me many christians and non-christians celebrated the spirit of giving, goodwill and peace. And in retrospect; at least in Hawaii, it seemed as though it was the Non-Christian sects who exercised religious tolerance above all others. Afterall, Christmas dominated the holiday but other religions were being recognized too.
There was no national policy for religious sensitivity. In Hawaii, the basis of being “hawaiian” was being respectful of people and regard their religious beliefs respectfully as it was a matter of Live and Let Live.
But something happened. Gradually, the Christmas music in the shopping malls slowly died. You won’t see signs and greeting of “Merry Christmas”, and locally, it would be scarce to see “Mele Kalikimaka” (meaning Merry Christmas).
A friend of mine, a professional consultant in mediation, once replied when I wished her a Merry Christmas, with a soft smile and total acceptance of who I am, said cheerfully, Happy Hanukkah!
Likewise, friends who are Jehovah’s Witness, Muslim, Buddhist likewise will greet me back, Happy Holidays!
Will there be Good will and Peace to all? And I do mean all?
Yet, I recognized in later adult life, some countries are protective of their religious beliefs and cultural roots and will die for it. And in a historical sense, their own society may have been decimated in religious violence, hate, and genocide. We must never lose sight of the predicament of other societies and culture, diversely different from our own, and barely live in insurmountable conditions affecting children, women and men.
So today’s blog is dedicated to understanding this. The origin of Christmas is dubious from a historical perspective, and even in the United States, it wasn’t accepted and only in modern times (not ancient times) was Christmas recognized as a national holiday, so there is some invention to it.
The earth bound beliefs, of Light and Dark, before the birth of Christ had its Pagan origins.
How you want to label it is one thing, how you want to live it is religious freedom, which I believe is the spirit of Live and let live.
We should then live religious freedom rather than religious persecution.
Religious persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group of individuals as a response to their religious beliefs or affiliations or lack thereof. The tendency of societies or groups within society to alienate or repress different subcultures is a recurrent theme in human history.
Here, I am quoting this 2013 article from the PEW RESEARCH CENTER, in Washington D.C. in it’s entirety. Keep in mind this article was written four-years ago so the statistics may have change. Still, it provides a perspective to consider. Let’s us begin…
“DECEMBER 23, 2013
Christmas also celebrated by many non-Christians
About eight-in-ten, non-Christians in the U.S. celebrate Christmas.
Nearly all United States Christians (96%) say they celebrate Christmas. No big surprise there. But a new Pew Research Center survey also finds that 81% of non-Christians in the United States celebrate Christmas, testifying to the holiday’s wide acceptance – or, at least, its unavoidability – in American society.
Non-Christians are a diverse group. They include Americans who are religiously unaffiliated (atheists, agnostics and people who describe themselves, religiously, as “nothing in particular”), of whom 87% celebrate Christmas.
They also include people of other faiths. A 2012 Pew Research survey found that roughly three-quarters of Asian-American Buddhists (76%) and Hindus (73%) celebrate Christmas. In addition, our recent survey of U.S. Jews found that about a third (32%) had a Christmas tree in their home last year. And some American Muslims celebrate both the religious and cultural aspects of Christmas, according to news reports.
Although Christians and non-Christians alike celebrate Christmas, the new survey shows they have differing views of the holiday. Two-thirds of Christians (65%) say Christmas is mostly a religious holiday, while most non-Christians see the holiday as more of a “cultural” event than a religious occasion.
Overall, the American religious landscape has become more diverse in recent years.
Christians have dropped from 78% of U.S. adults in 2007 to 73% in 2012.
Over the same five-year period, the proportion of adults who identify with non-Christian faiths has increased by about half (from 4% to 6% of all U.S. adults) and the ranks of the unaffiliated (sometimes called the “nones”) have increased by a third (from 15% to 20% of all adults).”
ABOUT PEW RESEARCH CENTER Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts. Copyright Pew Research Center 2017.
As I started saying in this blog, I am not sure if time has changed or if time has changed us. I think it’s likely both.
In Hawaii, We are a population of many. Diversity, not adversity defines us. We should be proud of that. We are inhabitants of this part of Earth, The Hawaiian Islands, and we must do all we can to protect the Aloha spirit in all of us, so that we may manifest its continued life beyond our generation.