Holidays and Celebrations

A Mini-Survey

In this mini-survey we want to discover how current and former Jehovah’s Witnesses feel about the Watchtower’s stand on “worldly holidays and celebrations.”

We’ll try to make this as universal and meaningful as possible so that everyone worldwide can participate. To make this survey work, there are five different questions designed to lead to the final results. Please respond only to those questions that apply to you in the order of their presentation and then choose the MOST APPROPRIATE answers for your particular situation or personal preferences.

Before I became associated with Jehovah's Witnesses, I did participate or celebrate some special occasions (choose one):

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While an active Jehovah's Witness I celebrated one or more of the following (maximum of 4) at least one time:

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After leaving the Jehovah's Witnesses, or while not associating for any reason (DF, DA, faded), I celebrated one or more of the following (choose up to 3):

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If you have left, or for any reason would ever leave Jehovah's Witnesses, which of the following would you definitely consider celebrating (choose one):

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Do you personally know any Jehovah's Witness who was disfellowshipped or punished in any way for participating in religious, cultural, personal celebrations or holidays?

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14 Responses to Holidays and Celebrations

  1. Editor says:

    I’ve voted. Now it’s your turn.

  2. ~Polly~ says:

    “Over the years, however, the religious associations have faded, and today these practices and customs have no religious significance” – Awake! 1/Aug/00.

    They were referring to such things as putting your hand over your mouth when you cough, blue for boys and lipstick, but I think this same argument can apply to birthdays and even Christmas today (so long as we stay out of other churches). The bits and bobs used in them are no longer of any pagan significance.

    Besides, didn’t Paul say, (Colossians 2:16) “Therefore let no man judge YOU in eating and drinking or in respect of a festival or of an observance of the new moon or of a sabbath,”? [an observance of the new moon? Really? I can do that? Who knew!]

    Looking forward to the new survey, btw.


  3. exDub says:

    I did not like holidays BEFORE becoming a JW so was glad to be free of them & with scriptural backing. After exiting JWs I still opt out of the whole holidays thing. There are lots of Christians who know & understand the truth re Easter, Xmas, bdays, Valentine, etc., so it isnt a monopoly by JWs.

    The only difference now is I don’t try to convince other people NOT to do whatever they want re holidays. Be my guest but I’m still not interested. I love being FREE of them.

    As for Colossians, Paul was continually fighting the Judaizers who were trying to put his Gentile converts back under Law. In context that verse is saying, “Don’t let the Judaizers guilt trip & judge you for not celebrating ISRAEL’s FEAST DAYS” (sabbath, new moon/Feast of Trumpets, Tabernacles, Day of Atonement, etc.)

  4. Jibrael says:

    I pretty much celebrate anything these days. Life is too beautiful not to enjoy every excuse to be joyous. I no longer judge other religions as demonic just because they’re different, and frequently enjoy worshiping with people of other beliefs.
    At the very least, however, since Galatians says that keeping Jewish holy days is a matter of conscience, why not attend them? It totally changes your view of Scripture and of Christ when you get a first hand experience of the Jewish culture.

  5. Afrikana says:

    Raised up for the most part as a JW. .and really having no desire to celebrate any holiday, however,now that I’m a parent, I find the reasons I give to my children as to why we cannot celebrate birthdays not convincing at all.

  6. exWitless says:

    “Over the years, however, the religious associations have faded, and today these practices and customs have no religious significance” – Awake! 1/Aug/00. — From Polly above. I don’t celebrate anything because it is connected to something from the distant past, good or bad. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t celebrate a day, or holiday. It depends on where I am in the world at the time and who is around me. To me its no big deal. Why make it one. Let people have the freedom to choose. And what’s wrong with a little culture? I would like to see how other people celebrate differently. I don’t like the commercialization of Christmas and other holidays. So I believe in staying within your means. To do things from a basis of love and gratitude, not greed, or to show up the neighbors. But I confess, I like touring lighted neighborhoods during the Christmas season to see people’s unique creativity. (Come to think of it…lol, I remember doing this in a car full of Witnesses after a long day of ‘door-to-door’….hmmmm).

  7. StillHaveFaith says:

    To me there are too many scriptures condemning false religious practices, for me to return to celebrating holidays whose traditions directly originate in paganism. Some of them, such as Christmas and Easter, are to me a “slap in the face” of Jesus Christ, since these celebrations were originally used to worship pagan gods. Should we expect Jesus Christ to share his glory with Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny, and should we expect our children to believe us when we tell them that Jesus Christ is real, after they discover that we have lied to them about Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny?

    Jehovah’s Witnesses are being misled from misapplications of scripture and manmade doctrines in some issues such as disfellowshipping, toleration of spousal and child abuse, “apostacy” etc., (in my humble opinion) but I do not reject the teachings that are backed up by historical and scriptural facts, such as pagan holiday traditions. On the other hand, I do not harrass or insult my family members for celebrating holidays, but instead use it as an opportunity to tactfully explain why I don’t engage in this myself.

  8. Erik says:

    I’m with you exDub!! It is harder and means so much more when we make time to give a thoughtful gift! And the origins do matter since God was angry when Aaron made the Israelites a golden calf and they called their partying a celebration to Jehovah. It’s hard to argue against bible evidence that God does care about the ORIGINs of things.

  9. Sean Stinson says:

    I feel that most holidays are a no no. I have many non witness christians/followers of messiah on my facebook page who do not celebrate holidays like christmas and easter. Given the pagan roots and the fact it was the Vatican that made sun god worship with a christian vuneer . This is a huge reason many secular friends refuse to believe the bible or the real faith of the scriptures is: there is to much paganism mixed in, and it all mimics each other and they toss it all out instead of investigating the real difference in the pagan versions and the scriptual one.

    Myself I don’t mind birthdays, I just skip the ritual part with candles singing and cake… and instead I have a buger and a beer or 3 🙂 .I eat thanksgiving dinner because everyone is off at that time…yes everyday is T’s G . I say happy birthday to people, and happy holiday to people or “You too, thank you” if they say merry christmas to me. Is there not a scripture that says : “when with the Romans do as the Romans do, and with the Greeks ,do as they do, (and the big CAHOONA) And with those who are not under law, appear to be as not under law ,even though you are under law ” A very powerful council JW’s have failed in because of stiffnecked policies like no beards and dressing like madison avenue to preach at the trailer park,instead a bit more on their level to who the audience is…. And that turns people off when you are ” Pharasidical” about matters as Jesus pointed out. I really try to relate ,and not alienate no matter what we each believe, and more people listen to the message from the scriptures. Shalom

  10. Joseph says:

    My paretns converted when I was 4. I have very vivid memories of a birthday,halloween, and christmas. A lifetime of not celebrating has stripped all meaning from these events though. Even if i were free too i wouldnt celebrate unless it was at the insistence of a significant other.

  11. mumqueen says:

    I join in with Christmas and Birthdays to keep my family happy, plus I used to love Christmas time when I was not a JW. But these days I don’t go to the carol service or anything like that, I don’t put up decorations or a tree but I do buy gifts because my daughters, who never had Christmas when they were young, are living it now, with their children too. I’m glad that they are free and able to enjoy life.

  12. Crash says:

    There is nothing wrong with birthdays. I was always perplexed at this one growing up a JW. I also found the whole ‘no beards’ thing a confusing and totally unnecessary mandate…Now I know it was all about taking your identity/autonomy away from you…..:)

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