Shit Jehovah’s Witnesses Say #3: “We Don’t Celebrate…”Posted by Bridget R. Gaudette on December 19th, 2012 – 5 Comments – Posted in Bible, blog, Jehovah's Witness, politics, religion
..Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Mother’s Day (and we’re unpatriotic).”
The primary reasons that Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t participate in the celebration of the holidays listed above (and below) is because the holidays are categorized as either patriotic, originating from a “false religion” (anything but JW) or not SPECIFICALLY commanded by god: all of which are BAD.
I decided to lump in the JW ban on patriotism because it has the same root reason they use for not celebrating certain holidays. Patriotism is a dirty word. You won’t hear a JW say they love their country. JWs do not vote for individuals in elections, they do not salute the flag nor sing the national anthem. JWs will not serve in the military nor will they work for a company that is associated with the military. They use the following scriptures to justify this:
John 18:36: “Jesus answered [the Roman governor]: ‘My kingdom is no part of this world.’”
John 15:19: “If you [Jesus’ followers] were part of the world, the world would be fond of what is its own. Now because you are no part of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, on this account the world hates you.”
Loving one’s country would constitute being a part of the world. Therefore, no patriotism allowed.
JWs overemphasize this language, “no part of the world”, to keep their members in check, isolated and fearful. It’s classic cult brainwashing behavior. As a JW, the word “worldly” is equated with evil. If a JW wants to dissuade another from some activity or a person, the only reason they’d need to give is that it is “worldly”. Even now, having left almost 12 years ago, the word gives me an uneasy feeling. Let me emphasize: “worldly” is bad. Staying ignorant is preferred. Or else.
So I’ll give you a quick breakdown of the holidays and the reasons JWs give for not celebrating them. For brevity’s sake I am coding them as follows: patriotic (P), originating from a “false religion” (FR) or not SPECIFICALLY commanded by god (NoGod):
Let’s start with the Federal holidays:
- New Year’s Day- P, FR, NoGod. The Romans dedicated New Year’s Day to the pagan god Janus. In addition it offers the opportunity for drunkenness and the accompanied “sins“.
- Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. & Washington’s Birthday- P, NoGod: From their website jw.org, “The only two birthday celebrations spoken of in the Bible were held by persons who did not worship Jehovah. (Genesis 40:20-22; Mark 6:21, 22, 24-27) The early Christians did not celebrate birthdays. The custom of celebrating birthdays comes from ancient false religions.” This is the reason no JW gets to celebrate their birthday. Shit.
- Memorial Day & Veterans Day- P, NoGod: Since these days are set aside to remember the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces and JWs are against military service, they don’t celebrate it. They benefit from the sacrifices made by these individuals, but they won’t show appreciation.
- Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving- P, NoGod: God didn’t spell all of these out in the Bible and they celebrate the birth and growth of this nation so.. nope!
- Christmas Day: FR, NoGod. Most people are aware of the pagan roots and many non-JW Christians do not celebrate for this reason so I won’t even get into that. JWs take is a step further and state that “Jesus never commanded Christians to celebrate his birth.” Jesus never commanded his followers to do LOTS of things, but I find that to be a very weak reason for not celebrating Christmas. I’m an atheist so I don’t really care, but still…
More holidays.. but I think you’re getting the point.
- Good Friday- FR, NoGod: This day commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus and his death. Jesus DID command his followers to observe this. Luke 22:19 reads: And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” That being said, JWs do not mix in their celebration with other Christians. They celebrate this one holiday and call it “The Memorial”, not Good Friday. This is the ONLY sacred day that JW’s recognize. It’s like Easter for everyone else because they dress up and 99% of them show up for the sermon and to pass around the wafers and the wine.
- Easter: FR, NoGod. From JW literature, “Promoted as a celebration of Christ’s resurrection, [...] the name Easter itself has been linked to Eostre, or Ostara, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of the dawn and of spring [...] Easter, therefore, is really a fertility rite thinly disguised as a celebration of Christ’s resurrection.” I’m a 34 year old woman who has never gotten to go on an Easter egg hunt or paint eggs. I did however, partake of the discounted candy the next day. Too bad it has pagan roots!
- Mother’s Day: FR, NoGod. Again from the JW magazines, Mother’s Day is “a festival derived from the custom of mother worship in ancient Greece. Formal mother worship, with ceremonies to Cybele, or Rhea, the Great Mother of the Gods, were performed on the Ides of March throughout Asia Minor.” Heaven forbid JW’s get caught up honoring the feminine!!
- Halloween: FR, NoGod. Do I even need to explain? A quote from the JW mags: “Known for its witches, goblins, and other grotesque decorations and paraphernalia, Halloween—also called All Hallows’ Eve— can be traced back to the ancient Celts of Britain and Ireland. On the full moon nearest November 1, they celebrated the festival of Samhain, meaning “Summer’s End.” They believed that during Samhain, the veil between the human and the supernatural worlds was parted and that spirits, both good and evil, roamed the earth. The souls of the dead were thought to return to their homes, and families would put out food and drink for their ghostly visitors in hopes of appeasing them. Thus, when children today, dressed as ghosts or witches, go from house to house threatening a mischievous trick unless they receive a treat, they unwittingly perpetuate the rituals of Samhain.” For some reason that sounds fun to me. <shrugs>
- Valentine’s Day: FR, NoGod: “Valentine’s Day comes on the feast day of two different Christian martyrs named Valentine. But the customs connected with the day . . . probably come from an ancient Roman festival called Lupercalia which took place every February 15. The festival honored Juno, the Roman goddess of women and marriage, and Pan, the god of nature.” It’s amazing that the JWs find a way to take the fun out of celebrating LOVE!
- St. Patrick’s Day: FR, NoGod: This is fairly obvious. The Catholic said this guy was a saint and since JWs believe they are the only ones who know what god thinks they don’t recognize Patrick as anyone special.