Countries That Have Actually Banned Christmas In The Past!
tiny nation of Brunei has recently come in the news after Sultan
Hassanal Bolkiah banned Christmas in the country. The conservative
Muslim nation stated that anyone illegally found celebrating Christmas,
sending holiday greetings, or even wearing Santa hats could face up to 5
years in prison! According to the Ministry of Religious Affairs, this
law has been passed to make sure that 'Christmas doesn't damage the true
beliefs of the Muslim community.'
Brunei isn't the only country the Grinch stole Christmas from. In fact,
there have been 10 other countries that banned Christmas in the past.
1. Saudi Arabia
Arabia is well known for its radical laws and beliefs. Especially when
it comes to religion. Although only a marginal number living in the
country call themselves Christians, most of them being American ex-pats,
the country still does not allow anyone to celebrate the festival.
Forget finding Christmas trees at the local mall, even sending out
Christmas cards could land you in trouble. In fact, in 2013, more than
forty people were detained for "plotting to celebrate Christmas." Not
kidding, that's what they charged them with. Breaking the law can land
you behind bars.
2. North Korea
hardly comes as a surprise knowing how the country manages to surprise
the world with its weird laws time and again. Forget celebrating
Christmas, all religious practices that are not approved by the supreme
leader are punishable by the law. There are no holidays in North Korea,
except for the ones that celebrate the birthdays of its supreme leaders
of course. South Koreans putting up Christmas lights was looked as, and I
kid you not, an act of 'psychological warfare' by the supreme leader.
Things are a little more chill in South Korea, so when they received an
approval from their government, they put up a massive Christmas tree
just a couple of kilometres from the border. This apparently angered the
supreme leader so much that he even threatened to fire shells at them.
it turns out, Christmas is a huge deal in some countries. Somalia is
one of them. The country has had a ban on the festival and New Year
celebrations for the last two years, but they don't shy away from
announcing it every year just before the 25th of December just to make
things loud and clear. Like Brunei, they too feel that Somalia is a
Muslim nation and celebrating it might damage the faith of the young
Muslims in the country. As reported by New Vision, Uganda's self
proclaimed leading daily, Director General of Somalias Ministry of
Religious Affairs, Sheikh Mohamed Khayrow released a statement this year
again reaffirming the ban. He said, "We Islamic Scholars are warning
against the celebration of such events which are not relevant to the
principles of our religion. Such events give also al-Shabaab to carry
Shabaab, a militant group in Somalia, launched a deadly attack last
year on the main African Union (AU) base in Mogadishu as a Christmas
party was going on. More than 5 peacekeepers and eight militants died in
the battle which lasted for several hours, the daily reported.
story is quite an interesting one actually. Albania has predominantly
been an atheist country. Since Christmas is considered as a religious
activity, an official ban on it came into effect in 1967. Christians
could celebrate and be merry, but only behind closed doors. In 1991,
when the communist party fell from power, the ban was lifted and all was
communist-ruled China has banned Christianity altogether. But that
doesn't stop them from celebrating. However, it is not as big an event
as it is in the west. Due to strict regulations by the government, the
locals can't do most of the things, like singing Christmas carols in
Castro played Grinch for Cubans for the longest time actually. During
his time in power, any religious observations and celebrations were
simply not allowed. He made sure Christmas wasn't a holiday and asked
the people to work on the sugar harvest instead. Thirty years later the
ban was lifted on the 20th of December 1998, apparently after John Paul
II urged Castro to rethink his decision.
Christmas isn't banned in Japan. Christians comprise less than 1% of
Japan's population, hence they don't really feel the need to celebrate
it. You might spot a Christmas tree randomly in someone's home but since
it's not big with the people, their government doesn't feel the need to
declare it as a national holiday. So do not expect a day off for
Christmas if you happen to be working in the country.
Germany might now be famous for its incredibly extravagant display of
Christmas celebrations, some cities including Solingen and Berlin did
ban it back in the day. It is apparently because Christmas is looked at
as a religious activity, and since their political party, the Greens
political party, was a secular one, they believed that such events
should not be happening in public places. Things went back to being
9. Great Britain
time was mid-1600s when Britain was heavily influenced by a certain
political leader going by the name of Oliver Cromwell. As a puritan (a
group of English Reformed Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries who
wanted to purify the Church of England from all Roman Catholic
practices) he 'hated' Christmas and banned it throughout the country.
His view towards Christmas was a bit warped in fact. He was totally in
support of celebrating the birth of Jesus, but didn't want people to
indulge on food and drinks celebrating it. Cromwell was a bit of a
hypocrite though, some say he would eat, drink, and enjoy other
recreational activities himself. Whattaguy!
10. United States Of America
was led by the Puritans during the mid-1600s. The General Court of
Massachusetts Bay Colony passed an order which said that anyone caught
celebrating Christmas would be fined. They felt that there was no reason
for celebrating the birth of Jesus on the 25th. They even termed the
holiday "Foolstide". The ban was eventually lifted in 1689, but the
festival wasn't recognised in Massachusetts for almost 200 more years,
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