… Jehovah's Witnesses do not celebrate birthdays Most witnesses would sincerely appreciate the thought behind your card and would not be offended by this in any way. Another shortcoming, at least for the moral permissibility of birthday parties, is that it provides only the names of a non-Witness book or author, for example, The World Book Encyclopedia in What Does the Bible Really Teach? However we view birthday celebrations as a pagan custom and do not want or expect anyone to send us a birthday … Myth: You divide families by teaching people not to celebrate Christmas. We take no part in Christmas parties, plays, singing, exchanging of gifts, or in any other such activity that is associated with Christmas. (Luke 15:22-25; Acts 20:35) Jehovah’s Witnesses enjoy giving gifts and having good times together throughout the year. . . . 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. Homilies on Leviticus 8.3.2 presents several lines of text on the unchristian nature of celebrating one’s own birthday or that of one’s child. Additionally, birthday celebrations tend to give excessive importance to an individual, no doubt one reason why early Christians shunned them. The service usually make a special deal of each of the children on their birthday, inviting them to be king or queen for the day and singing 'Happy Birthday' in different languages. Myth: The reason why Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate Christmas is that they do not believe in Jesus. For example, Reasoning from the Scriptures (1989) relies on books published in 1848, 1874, and 1952.4 Because previously lost early Christian writings are discovered every two decades or so, we today know far more about the early faith than previous modern generations. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate birthdays because we believe that such celebrations displease God. Fact: We are Christians.We believe that salvation comes only through Jesus Christ.— Acts 4:12.. They were a Pharaoh of Egypt and the Roman ruler Herod Antipas, each of whose birthday celebrations had deadly results. Nevertheless, Halloween folk customs of pagan origin flourished.”​—Encyclopædia Britannica (1959), Volume 11, page 107. In some places there may also be a certain day set aside to memorialize a nation’s war dead, or a day to remember the birth of a country or certain prominent presidents, rulers or national heroes. Perhaps to a greater extent than you may have realized, many holidays and the customs associated with them have a non-Christian religious background. Jehovah’s Witnesses celebrated birthdays and Christmas until the 1920’s. Thank you for your help. It is commonly known that Christmas was not originally a celebration of Christ’s birth. Consider the following examples: Easter: Although this holiday is supposed to commemorate Christ’s resurrection, note what secular authorities say regarding it: “Easter. Ask a Witness why they cannot celebrate a birthday and the first reason given will most likely go something like this: This is based on comments such as the following: It is correct that two birthday parties are specifically mentioned in the Bible, neither was for worshippers of Jehovah, and someone was killed at both. Perhaps one of Jehovah’s Witnesses might ask, do you suddenly feel a year older? Actually, the Reasoning book is scholarly and well documented in comparison to What Does God Require of Us? 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. … The Social Dilemma and What it Means for Christians, The Historical Uniqueness of Jesus Christ Among the Founders of the World’s Major Religions. Or what portion does a faithful person have with an unbeliever? May grace and strength be given me to do with my might what my hands find to do." According to Origen’s Commentary on Matthew 10.22, Christians should not observe birthdays because the only individuals in Scripture who did so also put people to death on that day: the Pharaoh of Joseph executed his chief baker (Gen. 40:20–22), and King Herod had John the Baptist killed because of Herod’s rash oath to reward the dancer who provided entertainment at the festivities (Matt. Origen mentioned the topic in these paragraphs only secondarily to his observation that, for his infant son Isaac, Abraham celebrated not the day of birth or anniversary thereof but the day he was weaned (Gen. 21:8). . . . Mt 14:1-12). Citing the examples of Jeremiah, Job, and believers in his own day, Origen preached that the proper Christian activity for one’s birthday is to curse it, but I doubt that Witnesses pass the day in this activity. Fact: We care deeply about families, and we use the Bible to help build stronger families. Hell does not exist. His articles on early and contemporary Christianity have been published by a wide variety of denominations in every major English-speaking country. [The] Maypole is believed by most scholars to be a survival of a phallic symbol formerly used in the spring rites for the goddess Maia.”​—The New Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia (1952), page 8294. A co-worker is Jehovah's Witness. The present article accordingly examines the entire extant body of Christian literature before the persecution, mass apostasy, and epidemic of AD 249–251. Ethical objections in early church history to celebrating one’s birthday are found in only one of these hundred-odd Christian authors. 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”. 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. The same Origen who prohibited observing the anniversaries of one’s birth also discountenanced the practice, recent in his time, of designating and maintaining separate buildings exclusively for Christian public worship, be they called “churches” “meeting houses,” or “kingdom halls.”7 Jehovah’s Witnesses should examine the entire scope of Christian antiquity before damning the innocent and community-building gatherings of Christians. In the mid-1990s, the U.S. Indeed, Reasoning from the Scriptures concedes that “wholesome gatherings of family and friends at other times to eat, drink, and rejoice are not objectionable.”8 In other words, the activities accompanying the celebrations are not harmful in themselves, but only on a particular day, just like commemorating Christ’s coming into the world is laudable and encouraged on any day except December 25. Interestingly, we read: “After the Reformation, Protestants rejected this feast along with other important ones such as Christmas and Easter. Christmas: As you are probably aware, December 25 was not the birthday of Jesus Christ. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate Flag Day. paragraph 7. They provide no specific references except the Bible, not even names of authors or titles, or any indication that better evidence lies behind them. 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. 2 and What Does the Bible Really Teach? Watchtower 1940 Jan 1 p.16 In 1951, that the Watchtower stated the Witnesses were no longer to celebrate birthdays. We appreciate it very much when teachers kindly excuse our children from participation in all activities that in any way commemorate these holidays. It was even customary to have Christmas dinner at the Brooklyn headquarters. The day of Christ’s birth cannot be ascertained from the N[ew] T[estament], or, indeed, from any other source. (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. Serena Williams' daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian turns 1 this week but her mother will not celebrate her birthday. It was indeed a birthday gift from Jehovah, to be used in proclaiming his name. The World Book Encyclopedia (1982) observes under “Christmas”: “During the 1600’s . . . Another problem is that the non-Witness sources it cites are too old to still be authoritative or available. (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). For further information or to subscribe to the CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL go to: http://www.equip.org/christian-research-journal/, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe it is a sin to celebrate birthdays, which they dismiss as heathen superstition or rooted in “ancient false religion.” The prohibition can be found in the Watchtower Society’s Reasoning from the Scriptures,1 What Does God Require of Us?2 and What Does the Bible Really Teach?3. (Isaiah 2:​22) Thus, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not, for example, celebrate a sovereign’s birthday. Mother’s Day: “A festival derived from the custom of mother worship in ancient Greece. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate birthdays because we believe that such celebrations displease God. … Origen considered both such cursing and refraining from birthday parties to be inextricably linked to the doctrine of original sin, which is the belief that the sin of Adam taints the whole human race. The festival honored Juno, the Roman goddess of women and marriage, and Pan, the god of nature.”​—The World Book Encyclopedia (1973), Volume 20, page 204. Birthdays: Enjoying a feast or a party and generous giving to loved ones are certainly not wrong. All Saints’ Day: “There is little doubt that the Christian church sought to eliminate or supplant the Druid festival of the dead by introducing the alternative observance of All Saints’ day on Nov. 1. This feast was established to honour all saints, known or unknown, but it failed to displace the pagan celebration of Samhain.”​—Encyclopædia Britannica (1959), Volume 11, page 107. There is no proof that Jesus was born on December 25; his birth date is not recorded in the Bible. probably come from an ancient Roman festival called Lupercalia which took place every February 15. I'll be giving Christmas cards at work, that'll say "Happy Holidays". It is not an official practice of Jehovah's Witnesses; it is at best a personal choice. Even he stands alone in his opposition, which would indicate that other Christians did not consider birthdays to be the issue or sin that Witnesses do. 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. These are not so universally celebrated, but may be unique to a particular country. (Luke 15:22-25; Acts 20:35) Jehovah’s Witnesses enjoy giving gifts and having good times together throughout the year. . . . She made this known while speaking at a press conference at the US Open. However, neither were standard birthday parties, but that of kings. 3. 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. So why celebrate wedding anniversaries and not birthday anniversaries? At present, this contains about five hundred works by about one hundred authors. Today is my brothers birthday but I did not go because I want to be a Jehovah Witness and I feel bad because my family wanted me to go, now please people don't answer saying Jehovah witnesses are just a cult and they aren't the truth because I know better. No source or direction is identified that the reader can consult for questions or explanations. 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. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe it is a sin to celebrate birthdays, which they dismiss as heathen superstition or rooted in “ancient false religion.” The prohibition can be found in the Watchtower Society’s Reasoning from the Scriptures, 1 What Does God Require of Us? 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. The subject of intense international criticism, lawsuits and … Some religions don’t celebrate birthdays. No its not ok because [Jehovah's witnesses] dont celebrate birthdays and or holidays. It is only sinners (like Pharaoh and Herod) who make great rejoicings over the day on which they were born into this world below.”​—The Catholic Encyclopedia (New York, 1911), Volume X, page 709 (quoting Origen Adamantius of the third century). 1. We remain neutral toward all such celebrations. Jehovah's Witnesses commemorate Christ's death as a ransom or "propitiatory sacrifice" by observing the Lord's Evening Meal, or Memorial. Jehovah’s Witnesses take the same position of total nonparticipation in other religious or semireligious holidays that occur during the school year. They observe it on Nisan 14 according to the ancient Jewish lunisolar calendar. 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. The … So my question is to Jehovah Witnesses, why is it bad to celebrate birthdays and holidays, could you please provide some … 14:6–10). (I say “should” because my Mom would say it as a joke. A Look at Virtue Signaling. They believe sins require two witnesses. It’s a religion with a strongly austere flavour and celebration of Christmas, Easter, birthdays, Halloween and (of all things) Mothers Day were all progressively prohibited on the grounds that they have pagan roots. It is this that makes them objectionable to Jehovah’s Witnesses. A major problem with Watchtower literature I found on its website is that no personal author is ever identified, which disables the reader from checking his or her qualifications or standing in the scholarly community. Origen began Commentary on Matthew 10.22 with, “Some one of those before us has observed what is written in Genesis about the birthday of Pharaoh, and has told that the worthless man who loves things connected with birth keeps birthday festivals; and we, taking this suggestion from him, find in no Scripture that a birthday was kept by a righteous man.”5 Origen’s predecessor who wrote about Pharaoh’s birthday party was not a Christian, but a member of what Jehovah’s Witnesses like to condemn as “false religions.” The teaching originated in Philo the Jew’s On Drunkenness.6 Even here, the objection is not to birthday parties per se but to drunkenness, citing Pharoah as an example. We hope the following helps you to understand why we take the matter so seriously. They celebrate it once per year, noting that it was instituted on the Passover, an annual festival. Other holidays are somewhat different in nature. . . . To put matters in their context, recall that during that period, Bible Students also commemorated December 25 as the anniversary of Jesus’ birth, or birthday. "—w98 10/15 pp. J.W. You can't save your friends with a blood transfusion. Birthday celebrations are mentioned only a few times in Scripture, and nowhere are they condemned. The question to consider is whether these extre… 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. Murder has never been a common accomplice of the traditional birthday party. 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. But the customs connected with the day . . . 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. Is the Incarnation Logically Incoherent ? 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. Significant new insights of the ancient church are provided by such recent discoveries as the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus and the Toura Manuscript in our own time. Origen was a Bible scholar, commentator, and preacher who wrote more on Christianity than anyone else before the invention of printing. and What Does the Bible Really Teach? Curiously, Reasoning from the Scriptures contains no entry on alcohol or drunkenness. 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. To be consistent exegetes of Scripture, Witnesses ought to hold parties for weanings on the same authority that they shun birthdays. For this reason, said Origen, the church baptizes infants—something Witnesses roundly oppose. When learning these facts about Christmas, how have some been affected? And even then the emphasis is on helping the parents, not celebrating a birthday. U.S. Catholic of December 1981, page 32, notes: “It is impossible to separate Christmas from its pagan origins.” The magazine explains: “The Romans’ favorite festival was Saturnalia, which began on December 17 and ended with the ‘birthday of the unconquered sun’ (Natalis solis invicti) on December 25. 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