- What religious festivals are celebrated around this time? Some of them are:
Jews celebrate Hanukkah - the festival of lights - recently publicly celebrated in Sydney
Buddhists celebrate Bodhi Day - the day Buddha achieved enlightenment
Muslims celebrate Id al-Adha - the feast of Sacrifice - celebrating the day Abraham decided to follow God's instructions
Christians celebrate Christmas - the Feast of Christ's birth
- What does Christmas mean in a secular society?
For Christians, it derives from "the Mass of Christ": the religious celebration of Christ's birth, and all that follows from it. Churches swell with people: it is both a religious and social event.
A cynic once suggested that the only bells at Christmas time are those of the cash-register. He was making the point that Christmas is a retail event, and that while people profess and wish for peace on earth, they don't practise it during the year. Cynical, because few go out of their way to be violent the rest of t he year!
Christmas in Australia is both a religious and cultural/social event: a time when those who profess Christianity take part in the religious celebrations, and the people make time for family and friends to wish them well. To many, "Merry Christmas" is a secular greeting of goodwill. No-one should be offended by it: indeed, people should be pleased that someone else wishes them well.
Merry Christmas to all