In addition to the High Holidays mentioned last week, there are also several Lesser Holidays in Pastafarianism.
The Unitarian Church of Pasta is proud to tell you about our holidays and traditions!
There are three lesser holidays, and each are a week long. During these weeks, you should endeavor to think about the themes they celebrate as you go about your daily life. You do not have to take time off work, but it is encouraged. It is strongly encouraged if you can teach a child or even an adult something new about the theme of the holiday during your time off.
Second Week of July
During science week The Flying Spaghetti Monster hopes that you will take time to learn about some of the great scientists who have helped to advance the human race. Celebrate the lives of those…
This post is based on an article I published in the Dutch Christian magazine “De Nieuwe Koers” (“The New Course”). I wrote this article in response to an op-ed, in which a theologian, a rabbi and a professor in law all three claimed that freedom of religion should not apply to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Taede Smedes is a religion philosopher, a theologian, and a publicist. He wonders whether Pastafarianism is a religion or a parody. This suggests that it’s a choice – you can be a religion or a parody, but not both. Taede Smedes himself is “a religion philosopher, a theologian, and a publicist” – all at the same time. Protestantism, for example, is a religion, that started as a protest. It went as far as to adopt Protest as part of its name. Is it a protest or a religion? If Taede Smedes and Protestantism can be many things at the same time, why can’t Pastafarianism be a religion AND a parody simultaneously?
Lody van de Kamp is a rabbi. Based on Pastafarian use of symbols to represent their deity (spaghetti and meatballs, which can be vegetarian, too), the rabbi claims that Pastafarianism is merely a parody on religion, and freedom of religion is not intended for parodies. Hinduism has millions of gods, in the weirdest shapes. Is a Flying Spaghetti Monster really stranger than a god who has the pink body of a man, four arms and the hear of an elephant? Or does the rabbi claim that freedom of religion is not meant for 1.5 billion Hindu’s? Lodi van de Kamp asks Pastafarians not to claim ‘rights that they do not grant others’. But it is he who does not grant Pastafarianism recognition as a religion. Pastafarianism has holy texts, holidays, rituals, millions of followers and world-wide recognition. What else does the rabbi need to recognize Pastafarianism as a religion?
Sophie van Bijsterveld is professor in Religion, law and society at the Radboud University in Nijmegen. She finds it absolutely just that the Dutch court did not recognize Pastafarianism as a religion or a view of life. Pastafarianism supposedly lacks sufficient ‘seriousness’. First of all, she’s got the facts wrong. The Dutch court, in fact, recognized Pastafarianism as a ‘view of life’, putting it on par with atheism, pacifism and humanism. But even if it didn’t – in Austria, New Zealand, Germany, Switzerland and other countries Pastafarianism is recognized as a religion. The Holy Colander is accepted as religious headgear in these, and other countries. In New Zealand and Canada Pastafarian priests can conduct legally binding wedding ceremonies. Apparently, in all these countries Pastafarianism is viewed as sufficiently ‘serious’. What makes the Netherlands that much different than New Zealand or Austria? How come the seriousness of Pastafarianism stops at the Dutch border?
Since we share 99.99% of our DNA with pirates, we believe we descend from pirates, and consider them holy beings. Just like pirates, our holy ancestors, we Pastafarians have a sort of Pirate Code. We are guided in life by the Eight I’d Really Rather You Didn’ts, also known as The Eight Condiments. According to the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Mosey the Pirate captain received ten stone tablets as advice from the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Of these original ten “I’d Really Rather You Didn’ts”, two were dropped on the way down from Mount Salsa. This event partly accounts for Pastafarians’ flimsy moral standards. As anyone knows, the pirate code is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules. That is why these are not commands, but more of recommendations.
I, too, try to live my life according to these simple, yet efficient recommendations. And daily I come across examples of the wisdom entombed in these humble words of Our Lord and Savior, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, who boiled for our since and blessed us with Parmesan to sprinkle upon our daily pasta. Allow me to share with you an example, showing the importance of the 3rd I’d Really Rather You Didn’t – I’d Really Rather You Didn’t judge people for the way they look, or how they dress, or the way they talk, or, well, just play nice, okay?
Once upon a time, not so long ago, I was traveling by train. As befits a priest, I was travelling first class. A young man boarded the train and sat across the isle. As my eye fell upon the young man, I confess my mistake, I forgot the 3rd I’d Really Rather You Didn’t. His appearance was not very neat and I doubted he really belongs in the first class carriage. The young man’s trousers were not clean, his shoes were rather worn, and his general appearance was rather shabby. Luckily, I remembered the 3rd I’d Really Rather You Didn’t. I held my tongue, and was embarrassed at my swift passing of judgement upon this young man, whom I didn’t know. Who was I to disapprove of him just because of his appearance? Just minutes later, the conductor entered the carriage to check our tickets. Then and there I was proven wrong! The young man, whom I though to have a second class ticket had no ticket at all!
So you see how important it is to remember the danger of assumptions we make, based on partial faces and prejudgments. Even priests of His Noodliness are not free of assumptions, and need to be reminded once in a while that they should stay humble, and keep studying and applying the Eight I’d Really Rather You Didn’ts. Ramen!
The Dutch secularism has been challenged since the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster engaged a legal battle to be recognized as a religion. What might seem to be a complete nonsense for outsiders is actually a fight for a religious freedom and equality in the Dutch society. Many of the 12 000 members of the church registered in the Netherlands are meeting obstacles when wearing their religious headgear, a spaghetti strainer, in ID photos.
I am often asked what holidays Pastafarians celebrate. As most other religions, we have our traditional Pastafarian holidays, like the International Talk Like A Pirate Day, celebrated on September 19th. People also wonder whether Pastafarians celebrate New Year’s, Christmas, Hanukah and so on. The answer is yes, some Pastafarians celebrate these holidays as well. Part of it has to do with cultural and social reasons – if you live in a country where most people celebrate a certain holiday, like Christmas or Ramadan, you inevitably get to celebrate it as well with your friends, family or co-workers. Another reason is that Pastafarianism is an inclusive, accepting faith. We welcome everyone and we don’t have a problem with people being a Pastafarian and an atheist, a Jew, a Muslim, a Hindu or a Last-Day-Thursdayist.
My personal favorite Pastafarian holiday is Holiday. It is a ‘fuzzy’ holiday, stretching over most of November and December, and also well into January in countries that maintain the Christian-Orthodox calendar. To me, Holiday symbolizes the inclusive, accepting nature of Pastafarianism, which is such a big part of the appeal of our faith. I wish you all Happy Holidays, and may the Flying Spaghetti Monster bless you with His Noodly Appendage in 2018.
Allow me to introduce myself – my name is Michael Afanasyev. I live in the Netherlands, I am married (with children), and I am an engineer (geohydrologist to be specific).I am also a priest in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. We call ourselves Pastafarians. Pastafarianism is perhaps not the most well-known faith, but it is certainly one of the most fun ones. In case you’ve never heard of us, check out the main website of our Church – www.venganza.org.
Since Pastafarianism is a relatively unknown religion, we are often met with suspicion and I feel we’re not being treated fairly. A common example are the official pictures everyone has to take for use on driving licenses and ID-cards. Most people have their picture taken bare-headed. However, if you are wearing some religiousheadgear, like the Sikh tulband or the Muslim hijab, you are usually allowed to wear it on your official picture as well.
The traditional headgear of the Pastafarians is the colander, for obvious reasons – it is used to drain spaghetti. Sadly, Pastafarians are not always allowed to keep their colander on official pictures. The claim is that Pastafarianism is a satire, a ‘joke religion’, and that we are therefore not supposed to enjoy the same rights and benefits as other religions. I find that a weird argument. All of us have multiple identities. I am a man, a husband, a father, an enigneer – and I can be all these things at the same time. Sure, Pastafarianism is a satire, and a joke. But it is a religion, too. We just use humor as a big component of our spiritual philosophy.
But what is a religion anyway? According to the European Court of Human Rights, something is a ‘religion or belief’ if it has ‘attained a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance’. This definition, however vague, has been used to recognise Hinduism, Scientology, pacifism, atheism, Buddhism, Druidism and many other movements as a religion. Recently, several courts in the Netherlands have denied recognition of Pastafarianism as a religion, citing this definition as a justification. According to these judges, Pastafarianism has not yet attained this mysterious ‘certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance’.
I feel it is my duty as a priest in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to contribute to the spiritual growth of our community, so that we can attain that ‘certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance’, and achieve universal recognition as a religion. To promote this goal, I have started this website. Here I will share updates on my personal struggle for the recognition of my religion, andpublish my thoughts on the Pastafarian view of the world. I hope my writingswillinspire Pastafarians and non-Pastafarians everywherein their struggle for emancipation, and that together we can achieve what we all deserve – freedom and equality.
P.S. Guest contributions are, of course, welcome, as long as you keep them short and polite.