This post is part of the Kemetic Round Table, which aims to answer some of the most common questions and provide a wealth of diverse options for the Kemetic novice to explore.
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?
Short answer: Do whatever you please, so long as you’re comfortable and fulfilled!
But I’m pretty sure all my Round Table posts could be answered like that, so let’s dive in for a little more detail…
For myself, there are relatively few secular or Christian holidays I really celebrated in the past. Christmas was the big one, and it was always a time of magic and joy and that silly-yet-mystical holiday cheer, and so I brought my childlike glee with me from Christianity into Wicca with Yule, into eclectic paganism with the winter solstice, and into Kemeticism with Moomas” (More on Moomas in a moment!) Beyond that, the only holidays I still regularly celebrate are Thanksgiving (as a secular, family-oriented, gratitude-centric holiday) and Halloween/Samhain (this year with a Kemetic twist!). I’m not much of an expressive patriot, so I don’t do much for most U.S. holidays, beyond a nod and a moment of thanks for days like Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day.
I find myself celebrating a lot more Kemetic holidays than secular or non-Kemetic ones, but most of the Kemetic holidays are pretty small, except for Wep Ronpet (the new year) in the summer, the Mysteries of Wesir in late autumn, and Moomas in early winter. Moomas is a celebration of the Establishment of the Celestial Cow, Who happens to be one of my Mothers: Hethert-Nut. Needless to say, Her holiday is a big deal for me, especially since I can throw all of my ingrained Christmassy happiness into the mix. But my families celebrate vanilla Christmas, and since none of them are particularly tunnel-vision’d with Jesus, I am happy to celebrate alongside them and focus on the non-religious aspects of the holiday. It doesn’t bother me, and I still love most of the carols sung.
However, for a new Kemetic or any Kemetic dealing with heavy doses of familial gatherings around secular or non-Kemetic holidays, you may not be as comfortable ignoring or Kemeticizing your favorite holidays. Hard reconstructionists may also take issue with my modern, freeform approach to finding Kemet in any particular holiday. (I mean, Hethert-Nut probably doesn’t need a Christmas tree… but we have one anyways!) Kemetics who are swamped in Jesus-themed holidays might feel a little overwhelmed and conflicted, and perhaps some patriotic Kemetics want to Kemeticize their country’s holidays, too.
Based on your living and family situation, your own personal comfort in being openly Kemetic with your housemate(s) and family, and your own like or dislike of secular and non-Kemetic holidays, you’ll need to make your own decisions what to celebrate, what to tolerate, what to co-opt, and what to ignore entirely. I find a lot of fun in trying to find the Kemetic in the holidays I choose to celebrate, but that won’t fly for everyone—and Kemetics are allowed to love and participate in non-Kemetic religious holidays that they grew up with or grew into.
It all still boils down to “do what works for you,” but know that you have options—you don’t have to pay lip service to holidays you don’t enjoy. Pick which days light you up or hold meaning for you, celebrate them fully, and don’t worry about the rest!
If you enjoyed this post, please check out other takes on Kemetics celebrating non-Kemetic holidays by my fellow Round Table bloggers!