Fans of the show Big Bang Theory would remember an episode where Sheldon insists that a small bust of Isaac Newton should go on top of the Christmas tree because he was born on the 25th of December, 1642.
This isnt just a strange quirk of this popular TV character, its a real holiday celebrated by atheists and skeptics across the world. Merry Newtonmas, everybody!
Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist and a prominent and outspoken atheist, once cheekily said, 25 December is the birthday of one of the truly great men ever to walk the earth. His achievements might justly be celebrated wherever his truths hold sway. And that means from one end of the universe to the other. Happy Newton Day!
Newtonmas or Gravmas (a reference to Newtons theory of Gravitational Mass) is the celebration of the birth and consequent works of Sir Isaac Newton, one of the most influential scientists of all time. Ironically, Newtons birthday is January 4 according to the New Style Gregorian Calendar, but then again, Jesus Christ wasnt born on Christmas Eve either.
The beginnings of this holiday are unknown, but the Skeptics Society officially brought it in the limelight in the 1990s. Since 2009, after its mention in the Big Bang Theory episode, it has had a stronger hold on the public imagination and has been gaining ground ever since. Newtonmas is still far from being an official holiday, but scientifically-oriented people have been unofficially commemorating this day for more than a 100 years now. You can join in on the fun from the comfort of your own home.
For those who dont believe in the spirit of Christmas and abhor carols, this festival is the perfect opportunity to present kids with prisms instead of play-doh. Cards proudly proclaim Reasons Greetings!. Boxes of apples or even apple products are exchanged between non-believers. Instead of a traditional evergreen conifer tree, you can keep an apple tree in the house! Instead of waiting through the night for Santa Claus to deliver his presents, Newtonmas observers go outside and view the stars with a telescope while eating warm apple pie. Newtonmas is a celebration of science and rationality, rather than superstition and blind belief. Creationists are, obviously, not welcome.