Christmas connotations and the overshadowing of others


Photo by Mimi Osborne

Christmas trees are put up early, as they symbolize the grandeur of the holiday.

Mimi Osborne, Managing Editor of A&E

The date was November 1st, 2020. My mother and I were doing some impulse shopping, when I saw a rather alarming sight–all around me, there were Christmas decorations. It was the day after Halloween, and I saw no more pumpkins nor witches nor even Jack Skellingtons. Instead, I saw a blinding display of lights hanging from wreaths across storefronts, all flaunting their garish decor. It was as if, somehow, Santa will come sooner if they engrave jolly spirit into every shopper and send them off with pulsing visions of red and green. Shortly after this, the overwhelming fear settled in–Christmas is coming, and all the stores are about to play Mariah Carey. I was horrified.

Now, quickly think back to the beginning of this story. A very real fear regarding a very real scenario. However, I am sure that you, too, were so distracted by the descriptions of lights and color to

even realize that November 1st is a very important holiday for a vast group of people. It was Day of the Dead, and I did not see a single decoration celebrating it. Now, I understand that the area I was in is primarily white and, therefore, this lack of festivity makes sense. However, this is not a valid reason to stray away from the larger problem at hand–Christmas overshadows other religious or cultural celebrations of the same caliber.

During the months of November and December, there are well over 20 holidays from religions such as Hinduism, Judaism, Catholicism, Islam, and others that are not well acknowledged by the Lake County community. In Hindu culture, there are two major celebrations that take place in the winter months: Diwali and Navratri. Though many of us have heard of the Festival of Lights before, the holiday Navratri remains resting in anonymity for many. Navratri is the nine-day celebration of the Goddess Durga and her victory over the Demon Mahishasura. In

Islamic culture, December 5th is marked by Ashura, which is the Sunni’s remembrance day over Muhammad’s fast with Muslim people. On December 8th, many Christians celebrate with a feast of Immaculate Conception, believing that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was born without sin. For any student who studied AP World, you are aware of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the great symbol of syncretism between Christianity and the native religions of Mexico. On December 12th, many Catholics, particularly those of Hispanic descent, honor this saint. If you, like me, were unaware that there are so many other holidays celebrated during the winter months that exclude Christmas, there must be some curiosity rising inside you as to why.

In a study conducted by Jay P. Dolan, a famous historian, it was revealed that nearly 63% of all Catholics in the state of Illinois live in Cook and Lake County. To no avail, it is fitting that the most mainstream holiday in these counties is Christmas; however, this does not support the fact that many other religious holidays are not being acknowledged by the larger community. Despite this, LFA performs a superb job with regards to the inclusion of these smaller holidays into various announcements and newsletters sent from the school. This is mainly due to the fact that we are a community with a very diverse student

body. However, for surrounding schools which mainly consist of a white or latinx enrollment, this broad spectrum of celebrations is not recognized as it should be. Although, in the grand scheme of things, this may be a miniscule issue, but it is still one that should be taken into consideration when you decide to hang spruce-scented wreaths or blinding Christmas lights right after Halloween.