By Rev. Ed Churchman
As everyone sitting here is undoubtedly aware, Christmas, known to some simply as “The Season” is nearly upon us. But during this season is there really any significance to a Dudeist, or is this just a Christian thing? Nowadays, Christmas, is irrefutably an occasion for all, no matter your creed. However, beyond that, it truly is of significance to the Dudeist edict.
So, what is this Christmas thing of which I speak? Christmas is a hodgepodge of various factors and aspects, and we’ll have to look a little deeper to unravel this conundrum.
Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on this day, but of course, it’s generally agreed that Jesus wasn’t born for some weeks after this date, possibly even a few years after, depending on whose calendar you have hanging on your wall. But the general message of the Christian Christmas is that of the celebration of the joyous event of the son of God coming to earth to give us a hands-on example of how to be excellent to each other. So, despite the mix up in dates, the significance of the festival is not lost. I mean, how many of us celebrate our own birthdays at the nearest weekend, rather than on the day, and does that detract at all? Hell no.
So, let’s keep on this train of thought about Christ and explore this guy a while. A devout Jew this man has sparked one hell of a following for various reasons. Several hundred years after his departure from this world a whole religion splintered from Judaism in following of his teachings, believing he was the son of God, and simultaneously an aspect or facet of God himself. Some more years roll by and yet another religion splinters from Judaism and suddenly this guy’s a great prophet sandwiched somewhere between Mohammed and Moses, come to earth to tell people a little bit more about this God cat. Rastafarians take a similar view, but with the added belief that he’s already come back to earth for a second visit. Even Buddhists recognise this man, who some believe was a Buddha (enlightened one) himself, and some that don’t truck with that particular hypothesis instead say he had access to eastern philosophy, possibly by even going out to India and studying during the unaccounted period of his life.
Now we all agree Jesus himself is significant. He’s a follower of one religion, a key figure in at least three others, and a respected figure in another. That’s five of the major religions in the world right there he’s got his fingers dipped in, even if most Jews don’t always reciprocate the love he had for them. But what about Dudeism? Surely we all realise that Jesus was a Dude, right? He was certainly the coolest cat in Jerusalem, of that there is no doubt, travelling the land and spreading his own brand of peace, tolerance and laid-back good-living all across the holy land. Whether it was all self-realised, or a mix of Zionist and Eastern philosophies shaken up and served on the rocks with a dash of goat’s milk is perhaps neither here nor there, because the fact remains, what he stood for and what he taught is some of the key fundamentals of Dudeism. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is perhaps the key lesson in this world when it comes to dealing with any other person (unless you’re a masochist, in which case this doctrine will quickly turn you into a sadist, which is not cool).
And there we have the Jesus aspect pretty well sewn up. It’s primarily his festival and we have a stake in that. But what else? Surely there’s more to Christmas than just Christ?
As I’ve already pointed out, the date of the Nativity is possibly a little off, which is cool, but December 25th itself is actually very close to a Roman festival the week before, named Saturnalia. And this in itself bares some great Dudeist significance.
What was Saturnalia about then? Primarily it was about raising morale. And to do that everybody was allowed to rest and chill, sound theory, right? Even the servants had it good, allowed to switch places with their masters and be waited on hand and foot for the duration. And in between there was fun and games, temporarily legalised gambling and the giving of small gifts. So this was a holiday for the workingman, a time for those who are not usually allowed to chill to do so, and for everyone to come together and bond and just enjoy themselves, forgetting the seriousness of life. Any of that sound familiar? Fun and games, giving of gifts, taking a break from work? That’s right, when the Romans took a hold of Christianity they put the Nativity and Saturnalia in the cocktail shaker and poured out slowly across the world.
Now we have Christmas, a holiday for everyone, consisting of twelve days of chilling, gift giving and harmony. A time when we give gifts to please each other and ourselves whilst showing how much we dig those closest to us. Sure, it’s become commercial, but no true Dudeist is going to be drawn in by that capitalist claptrap. We know what’s really important here is the message and the symbolism that the Romans attributed to it, and we also know that that’s a message Jesus would have really abided. It’s a time for putting one’s feet up and enjoying some quality time with friends, family and special ladies, and that’s the true value of the season.
Over here in the UK and throughout the Commonwealth we have, after Christmas day itself, the second day of the twelve, the one we call Boxing Day. In South Africa they call it the Day of Goodwill, which is pretty far out. Now I don’t know what it means to everyone, but to me it’s always been a second chance for Christmas, and it becomes the day we see the second half of the family, the ones we didn’t get chance to see on the first day, making Christmas day twice as long. But to a lot of Brits, I know it’s a day to really relax. None of that frantic cooking for lunch, or getting up early to tear open the presents, just sitting down in a comfy chair and watching The Great Escape on the television, or a Bond movie, or any number of annually replayed seasonal staples. This, I propose, is perhaps a true Dudeist day, the one when you can chill even more after the relative excitement of the festivities of Christmas itself, no matter who you are.
So why not make this Christmas a truly Dudeist festival this year. Take it especially easy, and hint that to the family, man. Don’t let someone struggle in the kitchen with a roast, just tell them to chill and sit down on the sofa. My family, being of the vegetarian persuasion did just that, we got up, ate a chocolate breakfast and prepared a no-fuss lunch we ate on lap-trays in the living room, before taking a leisurely walk around the corner to see the rest of the family for some fun, games and the annual wrapping-paper fight.
But don’t get too complacent in your own fortune here, Dudes. Let us not forget those who won’t be at home taking it easy this year. When you turn on the lights in the morning and open the fridge, pour yourself a Caucasian for the man at the power station giving up his Dudemas for you. And when you sit down, take it especially easy in a salute to the woman at the TV station, broadcasting the Guns of Navarone, even if you’re not watching it, someone else is, and it’s making their day that much more great. Spare a thought for those who aren’t able to chill this year, for whatever reason, and wish them a merry Dudemas, if not for the following days, or weeks, but for next year’s season, or as soon as they can park themselves down and let stress flow away.
So, Dudes, if you’re lucky enough to have twelve days in which to chill this season, answer this, for yourself, those around you, and all the strangers out there, the question posed by the great Elvis (Costello). “What’s so funny ‘bout peace, love and understanding?” I think we all know the answer to that one.
Merry Dudemas, one and all.
Truly deep thoughts, Reverend. Like The Dude, Jesus was the man for his time and place. I don’t connect to The Jesus’ story (or the book written centuries after his death) because his was neither my time nor my place. I suppose it’s similar to people around 100 AD not being able to connect to Homer’s 1,100-year-old epic “The Odyssey,” even though they recognized the significance of the work. That said, the Dudeist Day of Rest (12th Day) proposed here could also be an annual day to roll. Why wait for the LebowskiFest passes through?
The Mad Wombat says
The Christmas holiday has been including aspects of other religions since the beginning. The date itself coincides with the Winter solstice celebrations that most other religions observed. The tree, mistletoe and holly wreaths themselves were instituted to help convert the Druidic faiths. A case could be made that the Christians only did this to convert others to their faith however I choose to look at it as a very dude-worthy act of including all in their celebrations!I may not be a Christian but that Jesus cat was one sharp dude!
Other than name, I don’t think Jesus has much to do with many Christians’ faith. But, thats only like, my opinion, man. I’ve seen Catholic missions in Mexico with snakes on the outsides. These temples were built soon after the Spanish conquered the Mexican Peninsula to appeal to natives who held serpants in high regard. I believe that The Bible, like other great works, is meant to appeal to dudes of those times and those places. After a few centuries, they’re completely out of their element, so they’re rewritten or reinterpreted to appeal to the comtemporary dude. Like other great works, The Bible become the guide to love and hope for some;tyrany and death for others. There are few (perhaps only one) religions or “paths” that are admittedly based on works of fiction.
Oh…an after losing my train of thought, I just remembered why I logged on. IowaDude wants to propose a day of bowling on December 26. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that scheduling Days of Bowling would be unDude…but because we’re a youthful creed regardless of our individual ages, I think it would be nice to go somewhere with a good chance that other Dudeists will also be there, enforce. A force without force, you know. If you’re the only one there, then roll a few. No biggie. We’ll know who we are. Maybe we’ll roll a few together.
Ed Churchman says
Wombat: Yeah, good point man. Modern Christmas is not only universal and fairly religious-lite, but also from a mass of sources I didn’t have time/space/inclanation to list. So, yeah, the message of broad appeal is strong because what we have now is not really a Christian thing, and even if it is, Christ was a Dude we can all get behind.
Iowa: I think you’re right. Boxing Day is known by many names, so whynot have it known to all Dudeists as Bowling Day instead. Right on, man! A day by any other name feels just as chilled.
Rev. AF says
This article should become official Dudeist material. F*****g A!
I’m a great fan of Christmas, not much for the religious part but for its spirit, as you rightly said, because a lot of people tend to chill, relax, forgive faults and so on. Well, this last is mainly due to beverages. Anyhow, in my personal opinion Christians are only those who follow the so called Golden Rule, and this applies to a lot of people throughout the world, and I dig it. All the uptight rest are not, whatever they call themselves. So definitely I agree that JC is one of the greatest Dudes, isn’t it for this reason that he’s been killed? Instead of becoming the first Pope? Or the head of Pharisees?
Great article dude. I have to add two points though:
1 The Buddy Christ is the real JCD,
2 Can I have the phone number of that Mrs Claus?
Ed Churchman says
Thanks Rev, been a big fan of your stuff too.
Yeah, a beverage-fuelled Crimbo can go one of two ways:
1) Everyone’s chilled and merry. Result!
2) Some cleft-a’hole sparks off and ruins the family get together. Bummer!
I actually come from a pretty non-partaking family, so I’ve never suffered 2 personally, thank-Dude.
And yeah, there’s a lot of hypocracy in any religion nowadays, but, y’know what, that’s cool, because everyone’s entitled to their opinion, as long as they keep it holstered. Reactionary zealots and non-abiders not welcome this season, am I right?
I saw on TV the other night discussions about different Christmas experiances, and most seemed to all be about the stress and the build-up. The worring about the presents for three or months in advance, the planning for the family get-together and the dinner, the problems, the little things that don’t go right and spoil the holiday, yadda yadda. It seems there are two Christmases out there:
1) The Dudeist Christmas, happy and chilled. It’s not Crimbo without being chilled.
2) The Wedding Planning Bride’s Christmas, where you cultivate stress and spend the day crying when the turkey turns out a little dry in one leg. It’s not Crimbo without a drama.
I think we all know which one we’ll be having this year, am I right?
I’m grateful to live in a time where everyone is culturally and religiously aware and we all have freedom of choice based on the availabilty of information. In the wake of this new shit, Christmas has become a very universal holiday, catering for the religious and the less-so alike, all over the world.
ps, 1 – you’re damned right, Buddy Christ is the Dude of legend, 2 – you’ll have to ask Duder for that number, must be a perk of being the Dudely Lama :)
Rev. AF says
Zealots and non abiders are not welcomed any season. I agree 100 % with what you say. Christmas is an occasion to stay together and enjoy, not a kind of fashion or cooking contest.
F*****g A, Dude.
Merry Dudemas to everyone!
Rev. Ed C says
Today is a day I give thanks, for I’ve just finished work a few hours before Christmas chimes in this year and I’m not back until Monday. I was very nearly working Christmas and Boxing Day but a colleague stepped in and said it was a good excuse to get away from his family. That said, my thoughts go out to the two men who are willingly (and allbeit gladly) giving up their Christmas to work whilst I sit home tomorrow morning and sup on a Caucasian for breakfast. Really hits home what I said last year in this very article about taking a day of utter relaxation and good cheer for those who keep the world turning for us all.
Merry Dudemas, one and all, and a chilled Bowling Day to boot!
Not sure about ‘bowling’ day; don’t want to feel obliged to have to go bowling (or do anything at all, really). Boxing Day – like Christmas Day – is dug/celebrated in many different ways, usually – as stated – it boils down to chilling in front of a tv set watching some bollocks that you wouldn’t give a second glance to any other time of the year.
That’s cool – we need to do-stress after the absurdities of the 25th in any way we can. I like – but am not particularly attached to – the idea that Boxing Day is Dudemas day – we don’t have to prescribe any particular activities for the day. Just let it slowly unroll . . Dudes’ll form their own traditions in time. Maybe (a big maybe) if we can be arsed we could make a point of setting up local meets for a big chill or get online and skype some Dudes worldwide or some such. The world – and the 26th of December – is ours for the taking, y’know if we can muster the energy.
Rev. Ed C says
Well, Cakey, you’re right. It’s not so much about enforcing new traditions, willy-nilly, but finding ways of breaking down the problems caused by old traditions.
By taking back times of non-chill and throwing in a new Dudeist perspective we can well and truely make any day a Day of the Dude :)
Nothing above is to be taken as gospel, but inspiration to the real message of a holiday. Find the way, Dudes, find the way.
“It’s not so much about enforcing new traditions, willy-nilly, but finding ways of breaking down the problems caused by old traditions.
By taking back times of non-chill and throwing in a new Dudeist perspective we can well and truly make any day a Day of the Dude :)”
For sure, Rev – you know when I was younger I would often ponder (come the season) how I would like to celebrate a traditional 12 day
feast. I could never fill in the allotted time with enough varied activities (there is only so much you can do by yourself before you get arrested) and just where the hell are you supposed to find a freakin’ partridge in a pear tree of a Christmas Eve in Surrey (let alone Pomona).
I love the idea of a 12 day holiday from the norm – the trouble is we really don’t know how to do that anymore.
We have traded the camp or hearth fire that used to bind us together – our imaginations dancing and cracklin’ with the flames, our faces aglow with the wonders of shared stories, improbable lies, laughter and delightful what-have-yous – for TV sets. Our bellies may be full (if we are lucky) but our minds’ eyes have cataracts . . our imaginations dulled, kept docile by the puerile, utterly vacuous shite we now refer to as entertainment. Our sense of common union – communion – has been, over time, replaced with with a false representation of
fraternity – open to all – if you have the cash but of course, it helps to swallow the turkey if you are a Christian. Ah fuck it – this has all been heard before.
Dancing. Soft-shoe, circle, ritual, fun, lewd
boogie. Anything that invites you to take a strangers hand and get the blood pumping. I think dancing is just as important as story telling in building a sense of belonging, attachment (whatever). I’m not necessarily referring to sacred dance – although I guess that kind of thing could evolve – just some formal movements that we could throw in among the limber-freestyle Dude boogie.
Yeah, many avenues to explore – we’ll see what the year brings. I’m sure Dudes will find a way and realize that nothing is written in stone.
Rev. Ed C says
Well, it’s been two years since this article first came out, and for the third Christmas in a row I’m doing something different, thanks to my ever-changing employment.
Didn’t really take my own advice and worked providing baked goods on Christmas day, then made a trek on Boxing day before finally settling down to relax on the 27th… before coming back in to work on the 28th.
So, this year, rather than being able to kick back and relax in full I’m going for the good cheer thing, trying to make the most of enjoying myself and take my proper break in a few weeks, after the new year’s gone and settled.
Still, there’s always next year! :)