Twenty-first century Americans are a bunch of mealy-mouthed, scardy-cat, lip zippered, panty-waists, and I am one of them. I have been told a thousand times by society, the newspapers, the press and all the media, pollsters, attorneys, my bosses, and all sorts of politicians, that I should never use the words Christmas and Halloween at the elementary school where I teach. One of the words is Christian in nature ( see the word Christ in Christmas) and the other is historically based on either satan worship or paganism.
So I don't say the word Christmas, despite the fact that the school library has books that go into great detail about Islam and the respect it deserves, the Jewish faith ( the kids and I are about to be provided with our annual historical look at menorahs), Father Sky and Mother Earth, and religious tolerance towards all faiths, yet our library is not allowed to have one, single book on the Christian faith. I have been legally challenged on my chorus's "Winter Program." I am not allowed to use the phrase "Christmas Program," but I have been challenged on my choice of music because many of the songs use the word Christmas (e.g. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer), and I have changed past programs in order to accomodate those complaints. The reason I have done so is because the school district's most influential attorney, who presides in a high rise office that looks like something out of the TV show Boston Legal, told me that despite the fact that the legal interpretation of the word Christmas by a U.S. District Court of Appeals (the case didn't make it to the Supreme Court) is that it is NOT purely religious in nature but also has secular connotations, I would still be terminated by the school district if I forced the issue to be resolved in a court of law. I was warned to just do whatever it takes to appease any complaints, despite the fact that I may be legally correct.
I don't say the word Halloween, either, despite the fact that every Wal-Mart and mall in town is shoveling the word and the accouterments of the holiday down our throats (mmm....chocolate).
So I am having a party today in order to celebrate "Cold Weather Is Finally Here Day." I am about the only teacher in our school that has the gumption to pull this off, despite the fact that I consider myself pretty mealy-mouthed. I tell the kids, bring party supplies, dress appropriately (there will be bobbing for apples), and be ready for "Cold Weather Is Finally Here Day."
Melissa raised her hand and asked, "Mr. R., why do you call it 'Cold Weather Is Finally Here Day' when everyone knows it's a Halloween party?"
Well, Melissa, that's because I celebrate cold weather. I'm too old for Halloween. It's not a Halloween party." (See 'panty-waist' in first paragraph.)
"Well, Mr. R., my parents say that you can't use the word Halloween because you're not supposed to, but you have changed it to 'Cold Weather Is Finally Here Day.' They told me you are supposed to be calling it the 'Venerial Equinox.' How come you don't call it the 'Venerial Equinox'?"
"I don't celebrate that either, Melissa."