A student at my school claimed Halloween isn't a holiday, because it has no religious affiliation. It's true most holidays have a religious affiliation, but what do you think?

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No, of course not.  Even in the U.S. there are plenty of secular holidays: Presidents Day, Columbus Day, Independence Day, Martin Luther King Jr Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day, New Years'... seems to me they outnumber religious holidays.


Granted, this completely depends on your definition of "holiday".  If whacky religious types want to make it a prerequisite for a holiday to be religious, then you're not gonna convince them otherwise.

Wow.  What does ANY of that have to do with my post?  

not much....

Yes and No. In the old days yes. That why it's called Holy-Day= holiday. They started as pagan like winter solstice and all hollows eve. These days the title is given to any day we want to celebrate.

(1) Isn't Halloween by virtue of its name (All Hallow's Eve) and history "affiliated" with Xianity, not to mention the pagan rituals that came before it?


(2) as Erik already said, there's already quite a few holidays that are non-religious, even in this country. I'll just hit the ones that are regularly observed by non-governmental bodies: Thanksgiving, Independence Day, New Years Day, etc.


(3) then again, as Erik also mentions, there's context in particular we should consider. Perhaps your student specifically means "Holy Day" (in either an amazingly pedantic etymological sense, or in a similarly pedantic religious sense).


but what do I think? I'd say that holidays can certainly exist without religious affiliation.

Your correct Alex. About Halloween I mean. Long ago people celebrated all hallow's eve as a pagan day of the dead and it got high jacked, just like x-mas (winter solstice). At least I think I'm remembering correctly. (Someone correct me if I'm wrong.) Though you won't find many theists to agree, even Easter has a pagan start. One source-  http://www.religioustolerance.org/easter1.htm

 Alas, we make holidays at the drop of a hat these days. Not that I'm complaining. It's about time we had some holidays NOT based on religion but on people of accomplishment.

Hallowe'en originated from Samhain, the harvest festival and Celtic New Year, when people would replenish their hearth-fires with coals taken from the communal bonfire and carried home in hollowed-out turnips.

Martin Luther King Day

President's Day

Columbus Day

Veterans Day

Washington's Birthday


Try reading Alexander's post again.  He didn't say Independence Day was not observed by the government.  He said, "observed by non-governmental bodies".  Do you see the difference there?  Additionally, Alexander also never said that he gives a shit about what anyone else believes.


Are you trying to test our recognition of informal logical fallacies or something?  I think you've pretty much hit on all of them in three posts.

Godfried seems to be ranting about some debate going on entirely in his own head. What he's posting seems to have only minimal relation to the topic at hand. Perhaps he's using the name Godfried because god has fried his brain?

In Ireland, apart of Xmas and the new year, most days off were called bank holidays. They were always a specific Monday of an assigned month, like in May, June, August and so on.

They were called bank holidays to not make any religious association with them.

Plus in Europe, most places celebrate May 1 for work or study reasons.

You are completely misunderstanding the discussion.  Completely.


No, no-one here is bitching about religious (or any other) holidays.  What we're doing is discussing whether or not holidays can be secular.  Seems like you've come to this forum with some kind of anti-atheist/anti-American agenda that is clouding your reading comprehension.


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