Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Religious Holidays as Social Problems
The holiday of Christmas has become a global social problem because it invites terrorism and other forms of violence. In fact, violence is a part of many religious holidays. On Purim in 1996, Palestinian terrorists killed 13 people and injured 125. During 2006 Ramadan, the spike in U.S. military deaths showed how religious holidays can motivate violence. Around the world, people remember Christmas violence—in the United States, Indonesia, Philippines, Tibet, Mexico, Romania, Algeria, the United Kingdom, Bosnia, Pakistan, Iraq, and Israel. Puritans of colonial Massachusetts insisted that no proof existed of Jesus' birth on December 25 and outlawed Christmas in the second half of the 17th century. They were also protesting what they considered the pagan orgy of Christmas misrule. Elsewhere, the commemorations often led to relaxed norms against public excess and worker unrest. Drinking and mumming were central commemorations between colonial and Civil War eras. Mummers were rowdy groups ...