How do we negotiate Western secular and/or popular religious holidays? Do we ignore them? Do we co-opt them? Do we have celebrations with our non-Kemetic friends/family and then hold our own celebrations, if we have any Kemetic festivals around that particular time?
In just a little while, I’m going over to my Mom’s house to celebrate Christmas. I don’t think there are going to be any actual Christians at that gathering. My Mom is agnostic who would claim to be Christian if asked, just in case. I don’t think that really counts. So, if you take Christ out of Christmas, which real Christians naturally object to, but can’t seem to stop, what is left? Like most secularized holidays, it becomes a celebration of family and feasting. We give the little one gifts because unlike the adults, she can’t just go out and buy herself what she wants. We give the adults gifts too, but we all know darn well that the kid gets more out of that tradition than we do.
I’ve been a pagan since high school, which is longer ago than you might think, and I still call it Christmas. I’ve had friends who have insisted on changing the name to Yule, but it didn’t really stick with me. I grew up with Christmas, even if I didn’t exactly grow up with Christianity. My Dad wasn’t Christian either. He was a Deist.
There are Kemetic holidays around this time of year that can be co-opted. There are Kemetic holidays at any time of year. Part of that is because different cities celebrated different ones. If you were to celebrate all of the Kemetic holidays, you’d never go to work again! The majority of us live in regions other than the Nile valley, so it would make sense for us to have our own holidays too. I’ve seen a few people co-opt Christmas for the birth of Heru-sa-Aset. The symbols sure look a lot alike, and Jesus wasn’t actually born in the winter either. The Kemetic Orthodoxy celebrates “Moomas,” or the Return of the Celestial Cow. I see the time around the solstice as being the turning of Ra’s boat. I’m seasonally affective, so this is a big deal to me. There’s no reason why you have to celebrate the same thing as everyone else, unless you want to get in on the community vibes.
I don’t see any reason to stop celebrating your local holidays either. Family and community are both very important cornerstones of Kemeticism. It’s far better to celebrate a meal with your family, or to attend an event in your city, than to light candles all by yourself. In other words, don’t get snobby about Christmas, or whatever holidays your family or community celebrates. Have fun and celebrate while you can! You can still light candles later.