Wondering what religions don’t celebrate Christmas? Only the Christians celebrate Christmas as a holy day. Christmas is not a holy day in any other religion in the world.
People from different religions may celebrate it just as a holiday, but there is not religious significance for them.
Christmas is based on winter solstice, and it was actually a pagan festival that was cleverly appropriated by Pope Julius and subsumed into Christianity.
A Blatant Appropriation of a Pagan Festival
Ironically, we commemorate Christ’s birthday despite the fact that we do not know the day of His birth. The Holy Bible is mute on the date of His birth, and no other historical texts address the matter.
All that the Biblical gospels of Luke and Matthew teach us is that Jesus took birth in Bethlehem, Judea, to a virgin named Mary, and that His birth was brought about by “divine intervention,” since He did not have a biological father (so much for calling other religions superstitious). Surprisingly, the day and hour of His birth are omitted.
In this regard, everything we know is the outcome of an arbitrary judgment or, at most, a guess. The date (25th December) was chosen at random by a cunning Pope. Pope Julius 1 claimed in the late 330s CE: “December 25th, Christ was born in Bethlehem, Judea,” regardless of the fact that the Bible is mute on his birth date.
Indeed, there is widespread agreement throughout the Christian world that Jesus might have been born in September rather than December.
One often cited rationale for naming December 25th as ‘Christmas’ is that Pope Julius reasoned that the date aligned with the Jewish Hannukah and winter solstice, both of which were already occasions for festivity, and hence the celebrations should be heightened during this period.
There have been no birthday festivities for Jesus of Nazareth for nearly 300 years after His birth. Easter was the primary Christian celebration. Christmas festivities began in 336 CE in Rome, under the reign of Roman Emperor Constantine.
Indeed, one might make the argument that the date was deliberately chosen. It overlapped with Saturnalia celebrations, an ancient Roman festival dedicated to the God Saturn that began on 17th December of the Julian calendar and was eventually extended to include activities through 23rd December.
Pope Julius successfully incorporated an important pagan holiday into Christianity via this deft maneuver. Today, the majority of Europe is devoid of pre-Christian pagan practices.
It’s worth noting that Pope Julius I’s move to appropriate a pagan holiday and rebrand it as a Christian occasion did not sit well with a sizable portion of devoted Christians. There have been situations when Christian rulers have prohibited Christians from celebrating Christmas.
In the year 1659, the Massachusetts Bay colony prohibited Christmas, subjecting violators to punishment and a fine of 5 shillings (about $ 8000 in today’s money), as part of its attempts to “reform” and “Purify” the church by purifying it of idolatry and ritualistic excesses.
Previously, in the 1640s, England saw a revolution that deposed King Charles I (and eventually imprisoned him) and founded a Puritan Commonwealth. Among the new Parliament’s decrees was one in 1644 declaring December 25 to be a day of “humiliation and fasting” and charging anybody discovered celebrating with an offense and a fine.
Crime of the Church
Not content with appropriating a pre-Christian pagan holiday, the Church went on to commit several more crimes.
The Catholic Church’s dubious past does not end with embellishing facts about Jesus’ birthdate. In 1466, Pope Paul ll of the Catholic church compelled Jews to sprint naked through the city’s streets. “They dashed through Rome’s mocking screams and shrieks of laughter, while the ‘Holy father’ stood on a lavishly adorned balcony and laughed gleefully,” it is stated.
R. Michael’s book, Holy Hatred: Christianity, Antisemitism, and the Holocaust, describes in heartbreaking detail the persecution of Jews in the name of Christ. The following is an excerpt:
Throughout the 18th century and 19th century CE, rabbis from Rome’s ghetto were forced to dress up as clowns and march through the city streets, showered by a variety of projectiles.
When the Roman Jewish community petitioned Pope Gregory XVI in 1836 to put an end to the yearly Saturnalia maltreatment of the Jewish community, he said, “It is not opportune to make any innovation.” Christian clergy, on December 25, 1881, incited anti-Semitic fervor among the Polish populace, resulting in nationwide rioting.
Twelve Jews were brutally slaughtered in Warsaw, tens of thousands were injured, and several Jewish women were brutally raped. Property worth 2 million rubles was destroyed.
After all, Hitler’s later rise as a demon in Europe ahead to the Second World War, accountable for the murder of Jews, did not occur in a vacuum. Throughout the years, the Church undoubtedly contributed to the development of an anti-Jewish attitude.
Not only have Jews been persecuted, but the Church and the clergy have been embroiled in dispute since then. Bishops have been arrested for sexual assault for years, and allegations of nuns being ‘pimped out’ and sex parties of priests have surfaced.
In 680 AD, the 6th general council convicted and excommunicated Pope Honorius I (625–638) for blasphemy. Stephen VI (896–89) ordered the exhumation and prosecution of his predecessor Pope Formosus (this is the infamous cadaver synod) for his unseemly behavior during his rule.
Stephen VI had Formosa’s papal garments removed and two of his right hand’s fingers amputated. The corpse of Formosa was tossed into the Tiber. Following the synod, popular sentiment began to shift against Stephen. He was overthrown and strangled to death after an insurrection.
And there was John XII (955–964), who died in a strange manner after being suspected of infidelity and converting his pontificate into a whorehouse. However, John XII had stiff competition in Benedict IX, who served as Pope three times, starting in 1032.
Pope Victor III characterized Pope Benedict and his actions as follows: “his rapes, murders, and other unspeakable acts…. his life as a Pope is so vile, so foul, and so execrable, that I shudder to think of it.“
What Boniface VIII (1294–1303) accomplished during his 9 years of stint as Pope brought to light the Church’s extortionist side. He issued one of the most significant papal bulls in the history of the Catholic Church. Sanctum Unam. It asserted that the pope had both temporal and spiritual authority, and that those kingdoms were submissive to the Church’s age.
Though there is no Biblical evidence that 25th December is the date of Christ’s birth, though Christmas is a blatant appropriation of a Pagan festival – the Saturnalia, though Jews have been tortured in Christmas carnivals, and though the Church has been besmirched by sex scandals, Christians and many non-Christians celebrate Christmas with splendid and ostentatious display, without ever asking a question or without ever having a doubt.
So, back to the question – “What religions don’t celebrate Christmas?”
People of many religions actually celebrate Christmas just as a holiday. Only Christians celebrate it as a holy day. Only for Christians, Christmas holds a religious significance.
It has no religious significance whatsoever for other religions like Hinduism (more appropriate: Sanatana Dharma), Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, Judaism, Sikhism, etc. People from these religions may or may not celebrate Christmas, and if they do, it is just to enjoy a holiday.
In fact, for those Christians who think that Christianity is the only true religion and that people and nations across the world celebrate Christmas, you need to know that there are many countries where there are no Christmas festivals at all. Some of those countries include:
- North Korea
- Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
- Saudi Arabia
That’s not all. There are many more countries where Christmas is not celebrated at all. Afterall, it will be quite foolish to expect that people across the world and irrespective of their religion will celebrate Christmas.
In fact, there are many Christians who do not celebrate Christmas. Quakers, members of the Churches of Christ, Jehovah’s Witnesses are some that do not celebrate Christmas.