Sunday November 13th, 2011

Have you noticed the new layout? What do you think? Nice or not? Shall I change it back to the old one? Or is this one better? Your comments are more than welcome 🙂

In France also they’re changing the layout: they have started the Christmas decorations.

"Galerie Lafayette" in Lille all lightened up for Christmas

Mr Snowman's house just outside the mall's entrance (wonder how is the decoration inside the mall)

Let’s talk about Christmas in France for a bit.

Did you know that in 2004 a law was voted to prevent all religious signs in schools and public places (religious signs meaning all visible clothes or accessories that can point to your religion)? This was done because France considers itself a secular country.

So what is Christmas? Isn’t it a religious feast? Aren’t we celebrating the birthday of Christ? How come the decorations of the streets are not considered as religious signs? Why are these allowed and not the cross decorating a student’s neck, or a hijab decorating an employee’s head?

And also, if France is a secular country, why is Christmas considered a national holiday? And All Saints, and I don’t know which other day? Why is Sunday the week end and not Monday? This is secular enough, isn’t it?

It’s probable that they don’t put the Nativity scene in their decorations; I’m not sure as I haven’t seen any for now. So they could be just enjoying the commercial aspect of the day. But even with this, the day initially was created as a Christian celebration.

Or you might tell me that they don’t consider it as the celebration for the birth of Christ, but as the celebration for Saint Nicolas day. But in this case also we go back to a Christian celebration as we’re talking about a Saint.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas; and I love the fact that I get to see how the French do their decorations to compare it to how we do it in Lebanon. But I’m confused about the secular part of the country. Maybe one of you can clarify it for me? What are your thoughts on the subject?

See you tomorrow!


7 Responses to “Sunday November 13th, 2011”
  1. Magnesium says:

    This layout much better! Other one dated from communist era!

  2. The husband says:

    Minimalism in this layout, I sense… very nice approach!

  3. TheFriend says:

    Husband, inta sh-heddtak majrou7a 😛

    Second, I read a bit what people say about this topic – secular state / Christmas – on forums, and while I personally don’t endorse Christmas AT ALL, I found some argumentation for keeping Christmas that I’ll just reiterate.

    It’s not the religious aspect, but more the cultural, that’s behind continuing Christmas celebration. France is secular today but comes from Christian origins. Families that don’t go to Church anymore still observe “traditions” of which Christmas is one.

    The idea of a country-wide vacation has its advantages for unity and the sense of belonging. The thing is, historically, Christmas, among others, is one of those country-wide events. If the French drop it, what’s the alternative? Pick up the holiday of another religion? That’s far too “religious”. Or perhaps invent a random date and call it “Secular Day” and start wishing each other “Merry Secular Day”? Also seems a bit far-fetched. Moreover, if they start dropping everything that has some religious connotation they end up without heritage, with no roots.

    So they keep their tradition of celebrating Christmas in a society that remains predominantly rooted in a culture that celebrated Christmas. A good similar example that eases the anti-Muslim paranoids that I came across is Turkey. Turkey is also a secular state but with predominantly Muslim roots. So would anyone really be surprised to see Ramadan decoration in Istanbul?

    My two-cents for the day 🙂

    • Very nice reply!
      I agree with you that Christmas is currently more something coming from the origins of France, but things change, don’t they?
      France’s society is not 100% christian anymore; there are muslims, jews, boudhists, …. All these are part of the country and it cannot be without them anymore.
      So why not change its culture a bit?
      They want to create laws to impose their secular aspect, they should generalise these laws on all the areas and not just on the clothes. After all, it’s like they say “L’habit ne fait pas le moine” (clothes do not say who you are). If Madonna wears a big cross on her neck and sings “Like a Virgin” doesn’t mean she’s a Saint, does it? 🙂
      So what you wear doesn’t mean you’re not integrated in the country’s culture and laws.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] and materialistic stuff. Remember I was asking about the meaning of this holiday here in France last week? Well now I know: it’s not about the birth of Christ, not about the spiritual side of the […]

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