[Yes, I know it’s January] asks:

Is there a Pokémon version of Christmas? Is there, like, Arceus-mas or Arce-easter where people celebrate Arceus instead of Jesus? I’m pretty sure there was a winter festival about gifts or something in the anime.

Well, the Kanto series of the anime had a literal Christmas episode – like, they met Santa Claus and everything.  So the easy answer is yes, Christmas exists, takes place during the northern hemisphere’s winter and is associated with gift-giving.  Therefore, Jesus, St. Nicholas of Myra and the Christian faith all exist, therefore the Roman Empire existed and the date of Christmas was fixed at December 25th at some point during the reign of Constantine I in the 4th century (probably by the logic of that date being nine months after Passover, which was thought to be the date of Jesus’ conception, which in turn means that both Egypt and the Jewish people exist); in addition, if the birth of Jesus was a significant event we have to assume that his death was likewise significant and that Easter therefore also exists… and so on.

I said that was the “easy” answer, didn’t I…?

The better answer is that, in modern Japan, Christmas exists and is popular, but is largely divorced from any religious meaning and is mostly a celebration of Western exotica (which I talk about a little bit here; there’s some fun trivia if you don’t know anything about modern Japanese Christmas).  The creators of Pokémon mostly don’t care about the origins of Christmas, so the writers of the anime can just copy-and-paste the modern, stylised and hyper-commercialised version of the festival into their world without importing any of its history.  Maybe the Pokémon world has a totally different alternate history that just… somehow happens to converge to a holiday called Christmas that is recognisable as such to a modern Anglophone audience.  I don’t think there is an equivalent, like, “Arceus died on the cross for your sins” (or whatever) narrative going on, because I suspect that religion in the Pokémon world – as in modern Japan – exists more in diverse, localised traditions and rituals than in organised worship and centrally-mandated dogma.  Arceus is important in Sinnoh (or at least, was important in ancient times; it seems like ordinary people don’t really know anything about Arceus anymore), but might not such a big deal everywhere else, where people may have had totally different beliefs about the origins of the world.  In the absence of more specific evidence for the widespread worship of any particular deity, I’m not sure I believe there are major “world religions” like Christianity or Islam in the Pokémon world at all.

…also I think it’s worth repeating that the kids literally meet Santa.  He is real and they meet him.  Maybe he just fµ¢£in’ made Christmas up and everyone else in the world said “well, at least he comes down our chimneys with gift-wrapped presents and not a pile of knives; all hail the jolly fat man.”

7 thoughts on “[Yes, I know it’s January] asks:

  1. 1) There’s no evidence Arceus is common knowledge in the Pokémon world, 2) what knowledge there *is* doesn’t imply any level of worship* (its legends merely mention its role as a creator, which is *potentially* true), and 3) Arceus isn’t even an equivalent to Jesus (or any monotheistic deity) anyway.

    Not commenting on your answer, just pointing out that the premise of the question rests on unfounded assumptions, not least of which was about how a Japanese science-fantasy franchise would portray a decidedly-Occidental worldview.

    *Okay, so there’s the Sinjoh ruins, which on its own is extremely flimsy as an argument implying Arceus-worship.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is some more stuff in the movies, actually – the Arceus movie itself not so much, oddly, but the Hoopa movie features a brother and sister descended from a bloodline that are, like, D&D Clerics of Arceus; they revere it and get magical power in return (there’s also some… if not specifically Christian then at least Abrahamic-looking imagery; the setting of that movie is based on Dubai which might be meant to imply a Muslim context).

      But in general, yes: I’m Pokémaniac Chris and I approve this message

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I personally alternate between taking the anime face-value as worldbuilding and thinking it’s ridiculous, which, to be fair, does seem to be what it in and of itself also does. (Example: whatever the fuck is the deal with type advantages in it.) And like. It saying that christmas is a thing seems a lot like “Gary Oak” having ten badges.

    I feel like christmas doesn’t really make sense there because it has to come from somewhere, and christ is even in the name… it seems more fun and makes more sense to just imagine an alternative. Maybe there’s a holiday from some region honoring a cutesy friendly legendary, and it got imported to other ones. Celebi could easily make for ‘christmas’ trees, Xerneas could originate something festive with fairy lights… I dunno.


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