Rowling and religion

Gili Bar-Hillel gbhillel at netvision.net.il
Sat Feb 21 16:46:43 EST 2004


Helen wrote:
 a little bit like Hanukkah, only more drawn out and not associated with
presents.

For what it's worth, presents were not always part of the Hannukah
tradition, and in Israel, they still aren't. I think the presents got tacked
on in countries like the USA, to compensate kids who felt they were missing
out on Christmas.
Christmas is the highlight or apex of many seemingly non-religious
children's books. Perhaps I was more sensitive to this as a Jewish child,
than children who actually celebrate Christmas would be. There is a distinct
tendency in English language books to write about Christmas as a universal
experience, ignoring the religious aspect of the holiday. Father Christmas
plays an important role in "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe", which I
suppose is understandable as C.S.Lewis was religious; but even an author as
secular as Frank Baum, who was even anti-church at times , having been
seduced by theosophy and oriental mysticism, wrote Santa Claus into his
books (an incidental character in one of the Oz books, I think "The Magic of
Oz"; not to mention being the hero of Baum's "The Lives and Times of Santa
Claus"). And there are PLENTY more examples I'm sure.
I had a problem translating "God rest ye merry Hippogriffs" in HP, because
Israeli kids can't be expected to know the words to Christmas carols. I
ended up substituting a play on a Hannukah song.

Gili
who is tired and should be heading for bed
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