‘Happy Holidays’ or ‘Merry Christmas’ – This is the Holiday Greeting You’re Most Likely to Hear in Michigan
For a number of reasons, not the least of which are kinda dumb, we seem to have an issue with WHAT holiday greeting to use this time of year around people. You'd think, given the amount of decoration for sale, and on display, that "Merry Christmas" would be the one you hear the most.
But in Michigan, that might not be the case, assuming you go solely by how people in this state celebrate this time of year. So what else could it be?
Between Dec. 1st, and Dec. 31st, there are more than a dozen different holidays celebrated across at least 8 different religions and denominations of Christianity. And nearly every single one of those holidays overlaps with another.
For our Jewish friends it's Hanukkah, our African Culture brothers and sisters celebrate Kwanzaa. Buddhists celebrate Bodhi Day, Zoroastrians celebrate Zarathosht Diso the day AFTER Christmas, and even the Wicca and Neo Pagan followers celebrate Yule and the Winter Solstice.
All of them have their own individual holiday greetings. So which one is most common this time of year in Michigan?
In a 2015 article by MLive, about 78% of the state's population was Christian, and said religion was "very" or "somewhat" important to them, but only 42% were affiliated with a religious congregation.
Since then, numbers have continued to tumble for churches, as now only 70% of the state identifies as Christian. This also includes all protestant congregations, Catholicism, Mormonism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Jehovah's Witness. However, less than 40% of identifying Christians say they're affiliated with a specific church or congregation.
But even as the Christian population of Michigan continues to fall some, they will still used the traditional "Merry Christmas" greeting during the holidays.
"Happy Hanukkah," "Happy Kwanzaa," and the Rest
While Christians dominate the number of practicing religious people in Michigan, there are still a number of others that are non-Christian. Five percent of the state of Michigan identify as Jewish, Islam, Buddhist, Hindu, or other.
And in fact, both the practicing populations of Hinduism, and Islam, are larger than the Jewish community in the state.
But just between those major three, and practicing members of the African American community who celebrate Kwanzaa, there are five different holidays this time of year.
So if you're keeping track of the math, 70 plus 5, is only 75%. Which means, there's about a quarter of Michigan's population that now consider themselves non-religious. This could include atheists, agnostics, or people who just don't know.
With no religious affiliation, obviously, this group of people will likely default to whatever the people around them are celebrating, and are the most likely to use the greeting "Happy Holidays" during this time of year.
So which greeting are you most likely to hear in Michigan? It's probably going to be Merry Christmas, with "Happy Holidays" right behind it.
But honestly... WHO CARES!?
If someone comes up to you, and says "Merry Christmas," but you don't practice Christianity, simply greet them back with your own holiday greeting. Likewise, if someone says "Happy Holidays," don't get upset about it. Be happy they're taking the time to offer you a holiday greeting this time of year.
You'll be fine, I promise.
So Happy Bodhi Day, Hannukah, and Kwanzaa, Merry Christmas and Yule, and Yazdaan Panaah Baad to the Zoroastrian's who celebrate this season.
And don't forget about Happy Honda Days.
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