Birthdays, are they allowed to be celebrated now?

from: "Catchthis" at http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/6/80178/1.ashx

*** Awake! g03 9/22 pp. 23-24 The Piņata—An Ancient Tradition ***

The Piņata Today

Later, the piņata became part of the festivities of the posadas during the Christmas season and continues as such to this day. (A star-shaped piņata is used to represent the star that guided the astrologers to Bethlehem.) Breaking the piņata is also considered indispensable at birthday parties. Indeed, piņatas have become so traditionally Mexican that Mexico even exports them to other countries.

We found that for many people in Mexico, the piņata has lost its religious significance and is considered by most to be just harmless fun. In fact, piņatas are used in Mexico on many festive occasions, not just for the posadas or for birthdays. And piņatas can be purchased in many forms other than the traditional star shape. They are sometimes made to resemble animals, flowers, clowns.

When considering whether to include a piņata at a social gathering, Christians should be sensitive to the consciences of others. (1 Corinthians 10:31-33) A main concern is, not what the practice meant hundreds of years ago, but how it is viewed today in your area. Understandably, opinions may vary from one place to another. Hence, it is wise to avoid turning such matters into big issues. The Bible says: "Let each one keep seeking, not his own advantage, but that of the other person."—1 Corinthians 10:24.
 

The large bolded phrase above is the most interesting statement ever made by the Society regarding "pagan" or "religious" customs.  The article explained the origination of piņatas and how they are very much tied to Christmas and birthday celebrations, particularly Christmas.  BUT, as the phrase mentions above, it doesn't matter how the piņata was tied to Christmas hundreds of years ago.  It is how it is viewed today by the general population of Mexicans.  It is just a fun thing to have and do.

Similarly, you can easily apply this phrase to just about ANY other worldly celebration that witnesses do not participate in.  Birthdays included.  What did the practice of birthday celebrations mean hundreds of years ago?  How are they viewed in your area today?  It is not how they are viewed by witnesses in your area today, it means the general population of the area in which you live.

Personally, I think they allowed piņatas because the Mexican contingent of brothers and sisters is one of the fastest growing segments of the organization.  Any converts which come from Mexico are most likely Catholic and they tend to want to keep some of their traditions that have been part of their families for generations.  Christmas is HUGE in Mexico.  Piņatas are HUGE during Christmas.  Christmas just isn't Christmas without them.  Even at witness get-togethers, piņatas were banned.  The reason for the ban was because of their Christmas background.  Now it is OK?  Go figure.



 

"Blondie" adds:

Notice how the WTS avoids answering this reader's question:  How are they different from other celebrations that have pagan origins (translation:  BDs and/or Xmas) but simply have been adopted by modern cultures to be a family fun gathering?

*** Awake! g03 4/8 p. 30 From Our Readers ***

Luaus I read with interest your article "Let’s Have a Hawaiian Luau." (June 8, 2002) Several years ago I attended a luau in Hawaii. I felt there were strong religious and spiritistic overtones. Even if luaus today do not involve religious or spiritistic aspects, how are they different from other celebrations that have pagan origins but simply have been adopted by modern cultures to be a family fun gathering?

L. F., United States

"Awake!" responds: As noted there in our footnote on page 24, while the luau may at one time have had a connection with false religious practices, the word now has simply come to refer to a Hawaiian banquet. A specific gathering to which the word "luau" is applied may or may not be appropriate for a Christian to attend. As in all aspects of life, Christians should make decisions that will leave them with a clear conscience before Jehovah God.—1 Timothy 1:5, 19; see also the January 8, 2000, issue of "Awake!" pages 26-7.

*** g02 6/8 Let’s Have a Hawaiian Luau ***

[Footnote]

Although the luau may originally have had some connection with false religious practices, the word has simply come to refer to a Hawaiian banquet. Many Christians may therefore conscientiously feel that they can participate.

 

"Blondie" also adds another article from the Watchtower showing their hypocrisy in the matter:

*** Watchtower w03 11/15 p. 27 Questions From Readers ***

It would also be inappropriate for Christians to attach special significance to the fact that a ring had a birthstone. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate birthdays. This is because such celebrations focus too much attention on the individual and the only birthdays of Bible record are those of rulers who did not serve God.—Genesis 40:20; Matthew 14:6-10.

 


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