Controversy has arisen regarding the celebration, recognition, legitimization, or acknowledgment of the Christmas holiday in government, media, advertising, retail, and various secular and religious environments throughout the holiday's history.
Religion is a cultural system of behaviors and practices, world views, sacred texts, holy places, ethics, and societal organisation that relate humanity to what an anthropologist has called "an order of existence".
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed most commonly on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world.
Secularity is the state of being separate from religion, or of not being exclusively allied with or against any particular religion.
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In the 17th century, the Puritans had laws forbidding the celebration of Christmas, unlike the Catholic Church or the Anglican Church, the latter of which they separated from.
The Puritans were a group of English Reformed Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries who sought to "purify" the Church of England from its "Catholic" practices, maintaining that the Church of England was only partially reformed.
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with more than 1.27 billion members worldwide.
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With the atheistic Cult of Reason in power during the era of Revolutionary France, Christian Christmas religious services were banned and the three kings cake was forcibly renamed the "equality cake" under anticlerical government policies.
A king cake is a type of cake associated in a number of countries with the festival of Epiphany at the end of the Christmas season; in other places, it is associated with the pre-Lenten celebrations of Mardi Gras/Carnival.
The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France that lasted from 1789 until 1799, and was partially carried forward by Napoleon during the later expansion of the French Empire.
The Cult of Reason was a belief system established in France and intended as a replacement for Roman Catholicism during the French Revolution.
Later, in the 20th century, Christmas celebrations were prohibited under doctrine of the state atheism in the Soviet Union.
State atheism is a popular term used for a government that is either antireligious, antitheistic or promotes atheism.
In the USSR, the League of Militant Atheists encouraged school pupils to campaign against Christmas traditions, such as the Christmas tree, and encouraged them to spit on crucifixes as protest against this holiday; the League established an antireligious holiday to be the 31st of each month as a replacement.
The League of Militant Atheists ; Society of the Godless ; Union of the Godless, was an atheistic and antireligious organization of workers and intelligentsia that developed in Soviet Russia under the influence of the ideological and cultural views and policies of the Soviet Communist Party from 1925 to 1947.
A Christmas tree is a decorated tree, usually an evergreen conifer such as spruce, pine, or fir or an artificial tree of similar appearance, associated with the celebration of Christmas.
A crucifix is an image of Jesus on the cross, as distinct from a bare cross.
Likewise, in Nazi Germany, "because Nazi ideologues saw organized religion as an enemy of the totalitarian state, propagandists sought to deemphasize—or eliminate altogether—the Christian aspects of the holiday" and as a result "propagandists tirelessly promoted numerous Nazified Christmas songs, which replaced Christian themes with the regime's racial ideologies."
Nazi Germany is the common English name for the period in German history from 1933 to 1945, when the country was governed by a dictatorship under the control of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.
Modern-day controversy, often associated with use of the term "war on Christmas", occurs mainly in countries such as the United States, Canada, and to a much lesser extent the United Kingdom.
This often involves objections to government or corporate avoidance of the day's association with Christianity in efforts to be multiculturally sensitive.
Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.
In some cases, popular aspects of Christmas, such as Christmas trees, lights, and decorating are still prominently showcased, but are associated with unspecified "holidays" rather than with Christmas.
The controversy also includes objections to policies that prohibit government or schools from forcing unwilling participants to take part in Christmas ceremonies.
In other cases, the Christmas tree, as well as Nativity scenes, have not been permitted to be displayed in public settings altogether.
Also, several US chain retailers, such as Walmart, Macy's, and Sears, have experimented with greeting their customers with "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings" rather than with "Merry Christmas".
The Christmas season, also called the festive season, the holiday season, or simply the holidays, is an annually recurring period recognized in many Western and Western-influenced countries that is generally considered to run from late November to early January, defined as incorporating at least Christmas, and usually New Year, and sometimes various other holidays and festivals.
Sears is an American chain of department stores founded by Richard Warren Sears and Alvah Curtis Roebuck in 1886; it used to be based in the Sears Tower in Chicago, and is now headquartered in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., doing business as Walmart, is an American multinational retail corporation that operates a chain of hypermarkets, discount department stores and grocery stores.
Some opponents have denounced the generic term "Holidays" and avoidance of using the term "Christmas" as being politically correct.