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How is it that Christmas and Easter are celebrated and observed at Hogwarts? The films depict both holidays but no Wiccan feast days are mentioned. Christianity has been intolerant of witches and wizards, the Vatican has been rather negative on Rowlings' Harry Potter series, but the movies seem to depict an armistice or acceptance of conflicting positions. Is the history of the Church's persecution just water under the bridge?

marked as duplicate by Harry Johnston, Mat Cauthon, Buzz, Rogue Jedi, Bellatrix Oct 7 '17 at 3:27

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    Halloween is celebrated in Harry Potter, too. I'm not clear what you're asking with "Is the history of the Church's persecution just water under the bridge?" Water under the bridge with whom? The Vatican? – Slytherincess Jul 29 '13 at 14:59
  • Water under the bridge for both parties. I haven't read the books, only seen the films, which barely show any intermingling of the two cultures. – Ihor Sypko Jul 29 '13 at 15:29
  • False premise. I'm an atheist, but like most people in my country I celebrate Christmas because it's part of my cultural heritage. It does not in any way indicate an approval of Christianity. (It should also be remembered that Christmas was not originally a religious holilday to begin with. It was adopted by Christianity, not created by it.) – Harry Johnston Oct 7 '17 at 0:23
  • Non-magic people (more commonly known as Muggles) were particularly afraid of magic in medieval times, but not very good at recognising it. On the rare occasion that they did catch a real witch or wizard, burning had no effect whatsoever. The witch or wizard would perform a basic Flame-Freezing Charm and then pretend to shriek with pain while enjoying a gentle, tickling sensation. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - p.7 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 1, Owl Post – Bernard the Bear Mar 20 '18 at 0:00
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It's unclear whether you are asking why the author seems to approve of Christianity, or why wizards do in-universe, so I have attempted to answer both possible questions.

Given that the author herself identifies as a Christian the presence of Christian holidays is no surprise. I think her own words are the best answer to your question: "I don't take any responsibility for the lunatic fringes of my own religion." So she is dismissive of those groups which consider her books unchristian, but there is no reason for her to be negative about her own religion.

As far as why wizarding culture accepts Christianity, we can reasonably conclude that is is because many wizards in England are in fact Christians. There is no reason to believe otherwise. Just because a group is unpopular with more mainstream Christianity doesn't mean they can't identify as Christian. For example, many gay people in real life identify as Christian regardless of the fact that many branches of Christianity oppose homosexuality. The same phenomenon probably applies to wizardry.

Evidence of this is present in crystallized answer on another question :

That being said, in Harry Potter and the Deathy Hallows, Harry finds two tombstones with Bible (New Testament) quotes on them. His parents' reads "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" (1 Corinthians 15:26) while Kendra and Ariana Dumbledore's reads "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matthew 6:21)

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    Plus, Christmas is largely a cultural holiday celebration these days, rather than strictly a religious one. – Force Flow Jul 29 '13 at 16:17
  • @forceflow Certainly that is true as well. – Lawton Jul 29 '13 at 16:50
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    Technically speaking, no branch of Christianity opposes homosexuality. They oppose homosexual acts (the last confirmation was actually less than a week ago, from Pope himself). – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jul 29 '13 at 23:49
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    @DVK I have to disagree, you can definitely find Christians who will claim that even homosexual thoughts are sinful. That may not be mainline and certainly isn't what the Catholics say as you point out, but you can find those sorts of people. The group of people identifying as christian is so large you can find someone who identifies as one with pretty much any belief you can come up with. Making unilateral statements about "no christian branch" will just lead you into the no true scotsman fallacy. – Lawton Jul 30 '13 at 0:05
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    @DVK A sufficiently large group of christians with the same beliefs is what I would refer to as a "branch of Christianity". – Lawton Jul 30 '13 at 14:52
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As ForceFlow mentioned, these holidays are largely based upon natural phenomena (celestial body positioning, crop harvests, ...). For example, most cultures have a celebration involving bright lights somewhere near the Winter Solstice. It goes by different names in different regions, usually a legacy name from the predominant religion (which often parked their celebration on top of an existing celebration of nature). Many cultures also have some sort of rebirth/fecundity holiday near the start of Spring.

When looked at in this light, there is nothing too surprising about any group celebrating on (or near) these dates and using some of local lingo and traditions.

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It seems that the Harry Potter Universe and Muggles have different ideas on what a witch or wizard is.

Muggles think of someone in league with the devil or at least a pagan but that clearly is not the idea in the Harry Potter Stories. The ability to do magic is an hereditary trait and has nothing whatsoever to do with ones belief or even goodness or badness.

Therefore they could be of any belief whatsoever (especially Muggleborns). Jo has indicated this to be the case.

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    I don't recall any canon linking of witchcraft and devil worship. – James Jenkins Aug 7 '13 at 10:39
  • @JamesJenkins There isn't any. However, the question (and this answer) seems to be making the assumption that Christianity in the Potterverse is identical to the real world. That would include its history of witch hunting, and there were accusations of consorting with the devil involved then. – Anthony Grist Aug 7 '13 at 10:47

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