Political outcry is subduing Christmas in two separates parts of the world — the Canadian province of Quebec and the country of Germany.
Quebec is locked in a debate since the rise of Parti Quebecois (PQ) whose leaked legislation last week is causing a stir not only for Christmas enthusiasts but also for defenders of rights of religion and speech. According to a leaked document published by Journal de Montreal, the long-awaited â€œCharter of Quebec Valuesâ€ set to be released this fall, will forbid employees in courts, law-enforcement, schools, hospitals, and daycares from wearing â€œconspicuousâ€ religious symbols. Banned religious symbols will reportedly include turbans, hijabs, kippas, and crucifixes. Christmas enthusiasts fear this will include Nativities, Christmas trees and even Santa Claus.
In Germany, home to so many symbols, icons and traditions of Christmas, the trend towards “religious neutrality” is leading some to contend that Christmas is being erased.
Already Germany’s famed Christmas markets have been renamed “Winter Markets”. Christianity is not alone. There are wide reports of the transformation of the feast marking the Muslim month of fasting, Ramadan, to Sommerfest (summer festival), with the district apparently saying that religion has no place in public places. Apparently the district has also removed the word “religion” from the official criteria for its awards for citizen engagement.
Berlin especially will be the focus of anti-Christmas activity this year. The authorities are allowing no more Christmas celebrations in public places or streets. A Christmas tree may only be set up in a central location, allocated by the authorities in advance – so reports the “Berliner Zeitung”. The ban on celebrations was decided by the Greens, the Left and the Pirates. The SPD [Socialists] and CDU [Merkel’s party, mainstream right] were apparently against it.
Christmas fans can expect this trend to continue. While there will be no shortage of Christmas in stores and advertising the continued attacks against public Christmas celebration, observance and even acknowledgement will continue.