The Witnesses therefore are inconsistent in their approach both to Scripture and church history, and have no good grounds for their rejection of birthday celebrations. Perhaps one of Jehovah’s Witnesses might ask, do you suddenly feel a year older? Or what portion does a faithful person have with an unbeliever? For this reason, said Origen, the church baptizes infants—something Witnesses roundly oppose. Is the Incarnation Logically Incoherent ? Nevertheless, Halloween folk customs of pagan origin flourished.”​—Encyclopædia Britannica (1959), Volume 11, page 107. Christmas was outlawed in England and in parts of the English colonies in America.” Since people in the past refused to celebrate Christmas because of its pagan origins, it should be understandable why Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate it today. May Day: “May Day festivals probably stem from the rites practiced in honor of a Roman goddess, Maia, who was worshiped as the source of human and natural fertility. Homilies on Genesis 7.1 touches in passing on observing one’s birthday, without comment on its desirability or not, while Homilies on Samuel 1.8 merely mentions that people in Origen’s day held birthday parties for their children, without Origen condemning the practice. These are just a sampling of holidays that are commonly observed, and in which schoolchildren often are expected to participate by sharing in certain activities. The Witness teaching is presented as the only uncontroverted truth, and asks the reader to abandon their present version of Christianity, and condemn whole families of denominations, on the basis of a few lines of uncorroborated text. http://www.equip.org/christian-research-journal/, This is the Way…Or is It? Additionally, birthday celebrations tend to give excessive importance to an individual, no doubt one reason why early Christians shunned them. Ethical objections in early church history to celebrating one’s birthday are found in only one of these hundred-odd Christian authors. and What Does the Bible Really Teach? Or what sharing does light have with darkness? Jehovah's Witnesses reject birthdays as pagan, so they refuse to participate in them. They celebrate it once per year, noting that it was instituted on the Passover, an annual festival. Watchtower 1940 Jan 1 p.16 In 1951, that the Watchtower stated the Witnesses were no longer to celebrate birthdays. Mt 14:1-12). Curiously, Reasoning from the Scriptures contains no entry on alcohol or drunkenness. Myth: You divide families by teaching people not to celebrate Christmas. She made this known while speaking at a press conference at the US Open. Other holidays are somewhat different in nature. I don't want to exclude this co-worker from receiving a card, yet i don't want to do the wrong thing either. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate birthdays due to viewing it as elevating an individual. Only 144,000 elect Jehovah's Witnesses will reign in heaven with Jesus. Activities that Jehovah’s Witnesses are prohibited from participating in are as follows: All Holiday and Birthday Celebrations All Patriotic Activities, Including Singing the National Anthem and Saluting the Flag After-School Activities that Conflict with Evening Commitments at the Kingdom Hall It is commonly known that Christmas was not originally a celebration of Christ’s birth. We hope the following helps you to understand why we take the matter so seriously. In conclusion, both Origen and the Witnesses purport to root their opposition to birthday celebrations in their interpretation of the Bible, yet no Bible passage can be found forbidding it. However, it contains a few distasteful surprises for Jehovah’s Witnesses. This is in keeping with Jesus’ words regarding his followers: “They are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world.”​—John 17:16. “Christmas was outlawed in England and in parts of the English colonies in America”, For conscientious reasons, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not take part in holiday activities, Early Christians did not celebrate their birthdays, “This is not mere child’s play, but the vestige of a fertility rite, the eggs and the rabbit both symbolizing fertility”. Witnesses raise the further argument from ecclesiastical history, but this in turn can be traced to nobody but Origen, himself singular in the minority, and JW literature diverges from Origen on such matters as weanings, child baptism, and Christian houses of worship. We try to follow the principle stated by the Christian apostle Paul: “What fellowship do righteousness and lawlessness have? The fathers of the first three centuries do not speak of any special observance of the nativity.”​—Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature (Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1981 reprint), by John McClintock and James Strong, Volume II, page 276. “Most of the Christmas customs now prevailing in Europe, or recorded from former times, are not genuine Christian customs, but heathen customs which have been absorbed or tolerated by the Church. Mother’s Day: “A festival derived from the custom of mother worship in ancient Greece. This is not mere child’s play, but the vestige of a fertility rite, the eggs and the rabbit both symbolizing fertility.”​—Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore Mythology and Legend (New York, 1949), Volume 1, page 335. But the way the Christmas holiday developed shows that there is more to it than that. Yet this is not advocated in their publications. For example, there may be national days of thanksgiving. At least he might if he were me. The day of Christ’s birth cannot be ascertained from the N[ew] T[estament], or, indeed, from any other source. It’s the support of friends like you that enables CRI to to post new articles on subjects of interest and continue our weekly podcast. So why celebrate wedding anniversaries and not birthday anniversaries? Jehovah's Witnesses are well known for their belief of the afterlife believing that when this world ends, there will be a separate heaven and an earthly paradise. Although the Bible does not explicitly forbid celebrating birthdays, it does help us to reason on key features of these events and understand God’s view of them. (Luke 15:22-25; Acts 20:35) Jehovah’s Witnesses enjoy giving gifts and having good times together throughout the year. New Year’s Day: “In ancient Rome, the first day of the year was given over to honoring Janus, the god of gates and doors and of beginnings and endings. (I say “should” because my Mom would say it as a joke. New Year’s Day became a holy day in the Christian church in A.D. 487.”​—The World Book Encyclopedia (1982), Volume 14, page 237. (Ecclesiastes 7:1) So you will find that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not share in birthday festivities (the parties, singing, gift giving, and so forth). Formal mother worship, with ceremonies to Cybele, or Rhea, the Great Mother of the Gods, were performed on the Ides of March throughout Asia Minor.”​—Encyclopædia Britannica (1959), Volume 15, page 849. (Genesis 40:18-22; Mark 6:21-28) So it is not surprising to see these historical references to the attitude of early Christians toward birthday celebrations: “The notion of a birthday festival was far from the ideas of the Christians of this period in general.”​—The History of the Christian Religion and Church, During the Three First Centuries (New York, 1848), by Augustus Neander (translated by Henry John Rose), page 190. “Of all the holy people in the Scriptures, no one is recorded to have kept a feast or held a great banquet on his birthday. They provide no specific references except the Bible, not even names of authors or titles, or any indication that better evidence lies behind them. Originally the spring festival in honor of the Teutonic goddess of light and spring known in Anglo-Saxon as Eastre. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate birthdays because we believe that such celebrations displease God. It was even customary to have Christmas dinner at the Brooklyn headquarters. Myth: The reason why Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate Christmas is that they do not believe in Jesus. So if a holiday or a celebration is in some way linked to other gods or goddesses, or if observing it is contrary to our understanding of Biblical principles, we do not take part. Yet, at the same time, we do not object to others celebrating such holidays nor try to hinder them. You may feel that this does not matter​—that the event is the important thing. When the class is celebrating a birthday, give the child an alternative task such as a special errand or send the child out of the class with a book, drawing activity or similar option. Though we respect the authorities in whatever country we may reside, for conscientious reasons we do not give them what we view as worshipful honors. The World Book Encyclopedia (1982) observes under “Christmas”: “During the 1600’s . . . J.W. They observe it on Nisan 14 according to the ancient Jewish lunisolar calendar. 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