Despite the US being extremely religious as a whole, there is still a very strong sense of separation of church and state. It goes even further, and many businesses will not mention anything religious, especially around the holidays. Ironically, we will send Happy Holiday cards and our Jewish friends from Israel will send Christmas cards. Go figure.
Now, the Czech Republic is almost entirely atheist. As I have mentioned before, the Catholics make up all of about 4%, and that includes the more religious south. Well, despite that, people still believe that baby Jesus brings them presents at Christmas. Santa Clause can go hang his coat, because no one here has fallen for that.
A couple of weeks ago we had the Epiphany. Most people would have no idea what it is, but there is a tradition that you take a piece of chalk and write K+M+B 2013, the initials of the three kings, above main entrances. You will see that even on restaurants and other public places. Another strange example of how tradition overrides common attitudes toward organized, or more specifically, Christian church.
And the one that gets me the most is McDonald’s. They have Christian symbols in the menu and in their advertising. The Three Kings of winter??
How are they so against the institution of the Church that it prevents them from even coming close to a church, yet they can so easily fall for these myths and old stories? They all know them, accept them and then use them. Do they not associate them with Christian history or do they just not think about it?
As long as it sells, then I guess they do not question why, where it came from or what it means.