Hey, it's December! Happy Holidays! Which holidays you ask? All of them! Here's a list from Religious Youth Service.
RYS honors the observance of the following Holy days: December
6 6-9 7
- Waqf al Arafa - Hajj Day - Islam
- Eid al Adha - Islam
- Posadas Navidenas - Christian
- Yule - Christian
22-29 25 26 28 29
- Hijra - Muharram (first day of new year) - Islam
- Watch Night - Christian
Now, you might wonder - “Why isn’t Kwanzaa listed on this list?!” Well, I can’t say for sure, for I am no true representative of RYS. Here’s my suggestion though. The Religious Youth Service is a part of the Universal Peace Federation.
There are a couple key principles which lie at the core of the UPF. First, that no matter what race, religion, or national you come from, you are a child of God and thereby at your most fundamental level no less or more important, and no different, than anyone else. It argues that one day all our barriers should be obliterated, literally, through interracial, interreligious, and international marriage.
Through one persons viewpoint, Kwansaa would be a great holy day for RYS and the UPF as a whole to celebrate, because it’s an interreligious holy day. The thing is, while it is interreligious by celebrating the creator but not naming a specific creator, it is not interracial. Kwanzaa is highly focused on Africans, and anyone who was not African or of African decent showing up at a Kwanzaa party would probably feel rather out of place. This makes Kwanzaa very uniting for people of African decent, but quite divisive for everyone else.
So, this is my first personal guess as to why Kwanzaa is not on the RYS list. Then again, I guess Kwanzaa is just as divisive as any other holy day. Jews don’t celebrate Christmas, and Christians don’t celebrate Bodhi Day. So while Kwanza is racially divisive but religiously uniting, other religious holy days could be considered religiously both uniting and divisive.
Perhaps then, Kwanzaa isn’t on the list because it was founded more as a racial and cultural holiday than a religious holy day, and RYS has a focus on bringing together different religious people. Or, maybe they just forgot, who knows? In any case, I hope nobody holds it against them, for no matter what their reasoning I’m 100% positive they meant no harm.
As a Christian Unificationist, this December I’ll be only be celebrating Christmas on 25th (in addition to the two days before and the day after - per my wife's Norwegian tradition, though we will be in the United States this year). I’d love to celebrate them all, but who really has time to actively celebrate every holy day? Maybe if there were no such thing as the military, yet every single human had a job, there would be so many people in the work place that each individual would have enough time so that everyone could celebrate every holy day. Until then, I’ll pretty much stick to my own sectarian holy days and national holidays - unless of course invited to celebrate with a friend of another faith (hint hint, wink wink).
Merry Christmas and happy Holy days,
Christopher D. Osborn
Bergen, Hordeland, Norge