Christmas moved to Sunday; City cites possibility of Secular Confusion

In a surprising move Monday, after voting to move Hallowe’en to October 30 to avoid a “an erosion of Christian values,” Charlottetown City Council has also decided that Christmas Day should be moved to December 26 — a Sunday — to ensure that secular values are similarly preserved.

Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee told sources that he wanted to avoid the “values interference issues” that would inevitably result from such a holy day coinciding with a Saturday, traditionally used by city residents to engage in such secular activities as “going to Canadian Tire” and “buying groceries at the Superstore.”

We’re concerned,” said Lee, “that residents would be forced to suspend secular activities at a time of year — and at a time in our history — when secular activities are at risk …the symbols and messages of Christmas — angels, shepherds, peace, joy and all that — are at odds with the kind of economic development activity we want to see in the City.”

Members of the religious community were not available for comment.


Ann's picture
Ann on October 19, 2004 - 17:34 Permalink

Blame the United States. Once they started moving people’s birthdays around so Americans could have long weekends (three shopping days!), everything was up for grabs.
I’m just afraid we’ll get hordes of Summerside kids on Saturday and Charlottetown kids on Sunday. If I was a kid, that’s what I’d do. Stock up!

Marcus's picture
Marcus on October 19, 2004 - 19:06 Permalink

Definitely kids will go for a 2-day candy spree. Watch the sugar highs on Nov. 1 for sure! As for the influence of this phenomenon — PEI, and the Maritimes and Newfoundland in general really are the bible belt of eastern Canada…

Census 2001 states PEI’s population ID’s itself as 47.4% Roman Catholic, 19.9% United Church, 5.9% Presbyterian, 4.9% Anglican, 4.5% Baptist, and so on. This is a considerable drop from the 1991 census but still much higher than the rest of Canada.

Note that only 6.5% in 2001 state “No religion”. This is up from 4.9% in 1991.

Moving away from gov’t statistics to the NGO’s,’s Census and Polling Information About Religion in Canada states that only 30% of Canadians deem religion important in their life and they also identify the national trends in Canadians identifying themselves as Christian or non-Christian but there are no sub-national breakdowns (ie. by province).

They also state the following:

South-eastern Ontario has been called the most religiously diverse region of any country in the world. A major contributor to this trend is the large number of immigrants to Canada who have settled in the Toronto, ON area.”

Now, I’m not a demographic nor religious expert but from having grown up in PEI and having relatives there dating back multiple generations, and also knowing even quite a few Islanders in their 20s and 30s, not to mention older generations, who are still adamantly religious, it’s hardly any wonder that Christianity plays such a central role in the province’s culture/society with regard to debates on moral issues such as strip clubs, gambling, adultery (witnessed by the Island gossip-mill), and how for “All Hallow’s Eve” versus the “Christian Sabbath” — n’er the two shall mix. Heck, I’ve even run into people in recent years from the US and other parts of Canada etc. who have moved to PEI only because it is so intently Christian!

The issue re. Hallowe’en 2004 falling on Sunday is particularly interesting in how some communities are breaking with the trend, but with Charlottetown I think it partly has to do with an influx of people having moved to the city from the country, as well as the still-very-strong influence of the church in this community.

Alan's picture
Alan on October 19, 2004 - 19:40 Permalink

Since when is All Hallow’s Eve a secular matter?

oliver's picture
oliver on October 19, 2004 - 19:45 Permalink

Shouldn’t only the Pope be allowed to change the date of Halloween? I’m confused. Anyway, why can’t clergy just remind their flocks that their children will go to Hell if they trick-or-treat this year? Isn’t it sort of _their_ problem if their children go to Hell?

On a related note: D’ja know that Passover always falls on the same day of the Jewish calendar but that Easter jumps around specifically to avoid it? It’s ye olde quatrodecimian heresy (“quatrodecimian” = the 14th, on which day Easter must be bumped should the pascal moon coincide with it, and one might call it specific avoidance only in a manner of speaking, because the articulated rationale is that the Last Supper was a Passover dinner and One can’t be arisen before One eats…but then why couldn’t those Chalcedon councilors calculate Passover from their own calendar instead of turning every year to the Jews’?)

Sorry, I bring up this trivia at the slightest provocation, because it’s the one good piece I know.

Marcus's picture
Marcus on October 19, 2004 - 19:54 Permalink

I also know some who would adamantly dispute its secularity… Its history is firmly rooted in All Saints’ Day (Nov. 1) but more fundamentalist elements in Christianity see it as a pagan celebration — how much truth there is in that, I have no idea but I suspect this might be where the fear of it coinciding on a Sunday results from. Its celebration on Oct. 31 in recent decades may have been secularized but its roots are in the Christian holiday immediately following, although I’d say the majority of Christians don’t give a hoot (or a howl) about Oct. 31 as a “holiday” or anything else.

Ann's picture
Ann on October 19, 2004 - 20:29 Permalink

If you start calling it a “holiday”, people will start looking for the day off And then, if it falls on a weekend, the unions will demand it be celebrated on the nearest Monday and there will be no end of confusion.

It’s all pretty silly really — but I’m glad of any discussion that brings Marcus out from under his log.

Ken's picture
Ken on October 19, 2004 - 21:50 Permalink

Evil Saturday night, repentant Sunday morning.
Story of my life.

Marcus's picture
Marcus on October 20, 2004 - 21:50 Permalink

glad of any discussion that brings Marcus out from under his log

It’s been a busy summer/fall, and I was incredibly confused by vs. reinvented and all that — thought I stumbled onto a Canadian rugby website… :^P

Lea's picture
Lea on February 11, 2005 - 03:40 Permalink

I can’t wait to visit Prince Edward Island, I think it would be the only place I’d ever want to live in Canada ….