Festivus: a secular celebration
The holidays are coming up fast, and many different cultures and beliefs are practiced this time of year. While many people are familiar with Christmas, there are a variety of ways that people celebrate this time of year, including a secular holiday known as Festivus.
Festivus, celebrated on Dec. 23. provides an alternative to religious holidays and was originally brought to light from the show “Seinfeld.” “The Strike” episode aired on Dec. 18, 1997, the 166th episode of the sitcom.
A writer for the show, Dan O’Keefe, was introduced to Festivus by his father, who invented the holiday to get a leg up on Christmas.
Similar to Christmas, there are specific traditions that are done on the days or weeks around the holiday.
“To mark the occasion, an aluminum pole is set up in the living room or backyard — the Festivus pole.
After a Festivus meal, celebrants must air their grievances with each other and engage in feats of strength, like wrestling,” according to a New York Times article that ran on May 11, 2020.
To get into more specifics, the aluminum pole acts as a type of Christmas tree, although it really is the opposite of a decorated tree. Before the Festivus dinner, family and friends tell all the issues they had with one another over the past year.
After the Festivus meal, the feats of strength take place. The head of the household chooses another person, who may decline, to attempt to pin him or her. Festivus is not considered over until the head of the household is pinned.
Since the holiday was originally aired on “Seinfeld,” many have adopted Festivus into their own lives by celebrating on Dec. 23 or during a different time in December or year .
The main idea of Festivus is to celebrate in a non-commercialized way. Many argue that Christmas is over-advertised, and it is one of the biggest holidays where retail businesses and corporations make money. Festivus is a way to forget about the presents and money, and just be in the moment with the ones you love.
Festivus is a great holiday to experience with friends or family, whether you celebrate another winter holiday or not. The quirkiness of the festivities brings takes away from the stress of buying gifts. Happy Festivus — or Happy Holidays — for whatever holidays you choose to celebrate.