Well the holiday season is upon us, BLAM!
… and it’s next to impossible to escape, frankly. You would have to be an illiterate blind hermit living in the Kalahari Desert not to have heart about
THE DEATH OF RETAILING. It’s not – forget it.
Too many drama queens tapping away at keyboards.
Even though online sales have indeed been spiraling upward in recent years, with a more robust internet reaching further and farther, millions of mobile devices streaming into eager little consumer hands, it has yet to eat into 20% of the retailers’ sales pie. That’s a lot but nothing close to death.
Now why does this matter, you wonder? It’s because 20 to 30 percent of sales occur during the ‘holiday season’ and judging from the Jingle Bells polluting the airwaves and jamming the malls from mid-September (!!) desperate retailers are counting on it.
Don’t count them out as this year American retailers are looking to do a trillion-dollar sales fest.
Hey, what about all the Christians – or inhabitants of ostensibly Christian countries – who either ignore Xmas or celebrate it without all the pagan symbolism?
Don’t tell the neighbors or they’ll call Child Protection Services on you. All of the ancient symbols and rites were cleverly incorporated into the “modern” religions – including Christianity (along with some others it is better to leave alone and not name).
‘Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate Christmas. Neither do they celebrate Thanksgiving, birthdays, Valentine’s Day, etc. They also refrain from national holidays. From what I’ve read, the only holiday that the Jehovah’s Witnesses do celebrate, or anything remotely close to a “holiday” to our understanding, is Jesus’ death, which they celebrate on Nisan 14 of the Hebrew calendar. They call it the “Lord’s Last Supper,” which in a sense, is identical to the Jewish feast of Passover. (Jesus actually celebrated Passover and the “Last Supper” was describing a Passover dinner Jesus was having.)
‘If you actually research the history of the movement, though, they did at one point, celebrate Christmas but stopped doing it.’
Then there are the Seventh-Day Adventists, who are known in Asia for operating hospitals and serving vegetarian food:
‘Similarly to the Jehovah’s Witness movement, Seventh-day Adventists do not celebrate Christmas, or any holidays and place the main focus on End Time prophecy. However, the stark difference is their observation of the Sabbath, on Saturday as opposed to the mainstream Christian practice of observing Sunday as a holy day.’
This writer had never heard of the United Church of God, and I guess they had never heard of me either.
‘The UCG is actually one of many break-away groups from a larger Christian group known as Grace Communion International, at that time, known as the Worldwide Church of God. A 12-man board known as the Council of Elders governs the UCG.
‘The reason for breaking away from the WCG was that members of the UCG wanted to adopt a strict conservative orthodox form of Christianity, similar to the one that the Puritans practiced. As one could expect, ditching Christmas is one of those practices. In fact, the UCG even has videos on why Christians shouldn’t celebrate Christmas. Although, they actually seem to be lenient on birthdays. In fact, in this interesting sermon, one of their elders, Larry Walker explains that the Bible neither prohibits nor promotes birthdays and that it is truly up to the individual.’
So no Ho Ho Ho Santa Claus for the UCG members, no presents for their kids as well. Better get used to it.
You have to have been living under a rock not to have heard of the publicity-hungry Westboro Baptist Church, one of those sensational headline-hunting sensations that makes you think ‘Only in America’:
‘This Baptist section with only 40 members in Topeka, Kansas, at least as we know it, was found in 1955. Though the church itself, was actually a church plant of the East Side Baptist Church in Topeka under the same name as today. Fred Phelps, the church’s main founder, was actually an associate pastor at the original East Side Baptist Church. He was later hired to be the main pastor of Westboro Baptist Church.
‘Phelps eventually broke away from the East Side Baptist Church to begin his own group. While widely known for their hate speech and their picketing activity, particularly towards the LGBTQ+ community, they’ve also done this toward other Christians, soldiers and veterans, Muslims, Jews, politicians and well, America herself. Christmas should also be on that list. In fact, another thing that the WBC is known for is creating parodies of music to convey their beliefs. Christmas music is no exception, as the WBC condemns Christmas by making parodies of Christmas music doing so.’
They picket the funerals of soldiers killed in action, and you can imagine how popular that makes them (stones thrown, tires slashed, threats of fist-fights – funny funeral!)
Then there are the vast differences in Christmas celebrations, such as Krampus, the Austrian Christmas Fiend:
‘The traditional Krampus race in Hollabrunn’s market square has delighted the hundreds of Austrians and tourists who have dared to attend.
The Krampus is the “evil” companion of Santa Claus. He punishes disobedient children, beating them with a rod.
The Krampus is an old Austrian tradition that has resurfaced in recent years and the Hollabrunner event is gaining popularity with more and more foreign tourists watching its spectacle of horrors.
The character of Krampus has evolved over time; while in many areas more traditional wooden carved masks are visible, latex masks are taking over.
I sure bet you’ve never heard of the ‘YULE CAT’, a demonic Christmas beast from icy Iceland.
‘One of the weirdest festive traditions we’ve heard of comes from Iceland, where a giant cat is said to roam the snowy countryside at Christmas time. Traditionally farmers would use the Yule Cat as an incentive for their workers – those who worked hard would receive a new set of clothes, but those who didn’t would be devoured by the gigantic cat-like beast.
‘Today it is customary for everyone in Iceland to get new clothing for Christmas to avoid an unsavoury demise.’
A ‘COBWEB CHRISTMAS?’
They say the Ukraine is a strange, strange place and I can see why.
‘Where we would have baubles, tinsel and stars, Ukrainians use decorations that mimic the natural formation of spiders’ webs shimmering with dew.
‘The tradition goes back to a folktale about a poor widow who could not afford to decorate a tree for her children. Legend has it that spiders in the house took pity on the family’s plight, and spun beautiful webs all over the tree, which the children awoke to find on Christmas morning. Spiders’ webs are also considered to be lucky in Ukrainian culture.’
PICKLE IN THE TREE – ONLY IN DER VATERLAND
‘The Christmas tree tradition embraced around the world today is believed to have started in Germany back in the 16th Century, so it comes as no surprise that our Teutonic cousins still have some funny customs relating to the festive trees. One of these is to hide a pickle somewhere within the branches of the tree, and give a gift to whichever child in the household finds it.
‘Some claim that the tradition may not be German after-all. One legend says that the Christmas pickle originated in Spain when two young boys were held as prisoners inside a pickle barrel. Saint Nicholas rescued the boys and brought them back to life. Either way, a pickle on the Christmas tree is a tradition we can totally get behind.’
Hey Hey there is nothing at all strange or surprising about Christmas and New Year’s at Ya Udah Bistro, where the feasting, frolicking and fun never cease.
Good times go on at the Bistro, as they have been for over two decades now.
All YaUdah Bistro Management and Staff wish you a very Merry and Marvelous and Magical Christmas, as we celebrate by staying open all through the Christmas and New Year’s holidays seven days a week, until the wee hours – never closed for holidays.