Quaker George Fox

Celebrations if any, are subdued.

Quakers do not believe Christmas is a special day among all other holidays worth celebrating. This practice started from the 17th century. Quaker tradition says every day is sacred. Christmas is no different. Many Quakers nowadays do follow standard Christmas traditions, even as they believe in their own religious philosophy. They thus try to spread joy through their belief in justice, peace, and equality. In fact, adherents of Quakerism work for peace and social change in a number of spheres. They have campaigned for disarmament. They are found to hold periodic peace vigils and also engage in justice work to challenge root reasons of conflict.

The tendency of Quakers to avoid Christian religious festivals has historical roots. George Fox, an Englishman in the 17th century, is commonly believed to be the founder of Quakerism. He was influenced by the Puritan movement. Like the Quakers which came after them, Puritans opposed the celebration of Christmas. Fox, instead of celebrating Christian festivals, gave money to poor widows. The 1806 era, the written Quaker manual Rules of Discipline laid the dominant policy that adherents of the faith cannot engage in feasts and public fasts during what is termed “holy days.” This is as these events were designed by man and not by God. This strain of Christianity does not baptize its members and follow the rituals associated with the Lord's Supper. Holidays are not observed as Quakers believe these days are inherited from pagan practices and lack a Biblical spine. In a similar manner, they followed a “scriptural” calendar which rejected the standard English names given to the seven days of the week and the months. The logic was the name of these days in their original meaning referred to the worship of the sun, the moon, and the pagan deities. Quakers would substitute the day names for the first day, the second day, and so on.

The Quaker community favors subdued festivities. They reject commercial materialism which is inherent in gift giving and exchange. Followers of the faith believe in the simple life. Debate occurs within the community to determine whether a festival would be held. Lively theological ideas are sent back and forth. This happens even online. Modern-day Quakers celebrate Christmas with a candlelight service. The service resembles that of the medieval ages. The air is filled with reverence, simplicity, and equality. There are no clergies or planned programs.

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