Hope You Had a Good Weekend
March 23, 2008

I'm not writing this post to upset anyone nor to make anyone feel bad. I'm not writing it to attack anyone. I know some people say those things to cover up the fact that they are, in fact, doing exactly those things. I'm not one of those people. This is a think-piece, not an attack piece. :)

All through a variety of public discussion groups this weekend, I have seen one message over and over and over again. It's a wish for a good weekend. It's a wish for fun. It's a wish that solidifies a solidarity amongst a very great number of people.

But that wish also makes a huge assumption about others.

It is, in my opinion only, one thing to say Happy Easter on your blog - it's your blog and you should say Happy Easter or well wishes for a pleasant Purim, even a great Wiccan Sabbat of Eostar. It's all good. It's your blog and you should say whatever you like there with no doubt.

However, when on a general discussion board or a even a Friendster or Myspace analog, WHY do people insist on leaving comments which indicate a Christian religious preference on the profiles of friends when they don't know for sure what tradition that friend follows?

It's a nice gesture, don't get me wrong. It's never amiss to wish someone a good day regardless of what day that happens to be.

But I have dear friends who are Jehovah's Witnesses - they are Christian, but do not "celebrate" holidays. It always bothers me when I hear people wishing these friends a Merry Christmas. They, of course, are used to it. They know they are in the minority about their beliefs regarding celebrating holidays and while it gives a momentary "I'm not at the Kingdom Hall" moment, at least my friends tend to take it relatively in stride.

The same, to a certain extent, with my Jewish friends. Most of them know the wish is a genuine wish of goodwill.

However, there's always that moment of cringe. That moment of realization that your friends may mean well, but they don't get you. That moment of remembering that you're an outsider after all.

It's not a bad thing to wish someone a good day, a good weekend. But when we attach a certain personal significance, a religious significance, to it when we don't know that person's belief system ... it's not quite the well wishing we might have thought.

And I do honestly hope everyone had a great weekend and this post didn't upset anyone. It's just a little thought-piece - but one I felt needed to be said.

UPDATE:
As at least two of my commenters mentioned, there are also other reasons that wishing someone a happy Easter or hope you had a great Christmas, or whatever. If you're coming to this post from the main page, please click through to the comments and read their experiences as well. Thanks!

Posted by Red Monkey at March 23, 2008 8:49 PM | Blog | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |

 

Nola said:

Growing up in NOLA, a VERY Catholic city, very few people I knew were anything but Catholic. So saying Merry Christmas, Happy Easter was the equivalent of Have a Nice Holiday...

I never gave it a second thought until I once told a long-time firm client Merry Christmas. The client smiled at me very nicely. Once in the hallway, my secretary informed me the client was Jewish. I was mortified. It was the equivalent of asking when one's baby is due and the person isn't pregnant.

I will never forget the grace the client showed in the face of my naivety and faux pas. She was classy through and through.

That mistake taught me to be careful about those dastardly assumptions.

Hope my twitter comment to you about eating eggs on Easter wasn't offensive to you. Knowing you, I think not.

Thoughtful post. Wish I'd read it before Christmas 1999!

March 23, 2008 10:18 PM

 

jodi said:

Exactly....I called my mom, wished her a Happy Easter...She said thanks, um Happy?? What is it Jodi you said-Happy HallmarkCorprorategreedandifeedintoto Day....

She's learning...

Great Post endy..and so true!

March 24, 2008 6:59 AM

 

blueyes said:

Most of the calls I got this morning from parents also entailed asking if I had a Happy Easter and rather than go into detail about how I despise all holidays I just said it was fine and moved the conversation along.

March 24, 2008 2:04 PM

 

PandoraWilde said:

Then there's the call from the PS' niece, asking what we're having for Easter dinner.

She forgets that caring for a hospice-level patient is time-consuming as well as labor-intensive, leaving us not much time for plotting huge family to-dos. Throw in a side order of the house cook having a major chronic pain condition and you have a "Hell no we're not doing XXXXXX dinner!"

Fortunately sometimes she does remember that and will bring goodies from a dinner she's thrown (as she did this weekend), but other times she nominates US to host while she does the cooking--meaning I'm cleaning house top-to-bottom so we can host without being hideously embarrassed, but leaving me in so much pain that I'm in the bedroom trying not to cry out loud while everyone else eats.

Sorry for the rant but this is one I can't put on my own page, since the family reads there. But I do get you totally--not everyone observes holidays as dictated by the Christian calendar, but being of other religions is not the only reason for it. Sometimes it's just to damned much.

March 24, 2008 3:35 PM

 

Alan said:

Hope you had a nice Saturday and Sunday. We didn't celebrate anything here unless you count a bout of spring cleaning ;)

March 24, 2008 8:48 PM
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