In a cheeky response to unfolding reactions about the Disney-themed Christmas decorations on Orchard Road and the subsequent letter of concern from the National Council of Churches (NCC) to the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), the Humanist Society of Singapore (HSS) released a statement to express their “concern that others are concerned about the STB’s themed Year-End Light-up along Orchard Road”.
The statement light-heartedly presents the history behind Christmas, specifically pointing out pre-Christian history of the year-end celebration that has its roots in pagan rituals. The statement says, “we are concerned that the light-up, with a heavy leaning towards emphasis on one religion, may detract the historical significant of the days surrounding every December”.
They go on to name more than a few different communities around the world, specifically in the Northern Hemisphere, that celebrates the winter solstice such as the Druids, Pagans, Egyptians, Arabians, Sumerians, Persians, Indians, and more who celebrate some version of the winter solstice, also known a Saturnalia among other names.
“In pre-Christian Rome, Saturnalia involved gift giving and the associated role reversal between servants and masters; and other parts of Europe, Yule time and Odin (father of Thor) were celebrated at this same season. The character Santa Klaus was Sinterklass in Europe, and uncannily based on or imbued with qualities from Odin and Old Man Winter”, said HSS.
The HSS ends their statement with a smooth segue to promote recycling, charity, healthy eating, and safe driving during the holidays.
The post by HSS has since garnered a lot of attention on local social media, having been shared over 700 times.
Many are tickled by the statement from HSS and agree that the debate around the decorations not being ‘Christian’ enough is pointless since Orchard Road is not a church and the target audience for the decorations go beyond just Christians: