Monday, January 28, 2008

an honest holiday

A lot of people I know get paid holidays. Most people actually. Everyone I know celebrates holidays. I'm just wondering how many people truly celebrate any holiday?

Here's what I mean.

I've seen tens of thousands of people celebrate St. Patrick's day. I've never seen one person celebrate St. Patrick's life or anything even close. I've marched in parades, been at events, parties and festivals and never seen even a hint at anything to do with Patrick. If you took an alien and brought them to a St. Patrick's day parade/party/event I'll bet the alien would guess that St. Patrick's day has something to do with green beer, regular beer, or singing. Maybe she'd guess that it had something to do with Irish people. The alien won't hear about Saint Patrick bringing Christianity to the Emerald Isle. They won't probably have a long talk about how Patrick wasn't from Ireland and grew up a slave. At some point she'll hear Danny Boy though.

That's now even my point. I just think you should get to pick the things you really want to celebrate. It shouldn't matter to your boss. It might actually help productivity at most offices because there wouldn't be certain days that you just can't do business. On top of that, you could actually celebrate the things that are most important to you. You could make up holidays that revolve around things you really care about.

Don't care about flags? You probably shouldn't take one of your days and call it flag day.

You're not dating anyone? Would you mind not feeling extra lonely on Valentine's day? So that's not a holiday for you this year. Hallmark could still market a day where they could sell cards and just call it flowers and cards day. I still don't really know the history of that day...something about Saint Valentine?

Here's a decent way to figure out how important a particular day really is:

What do you talk about?

Do you talk about presents more than you talk about the God of the Universe coming to this planet as a little baby? I don't mean 41 mentions of the incarnation compared to 40 conversations about "what do you want?" "I haven't done my shopping yet". Do you mention buying presents or opening presents 100 times for every one time you talk about Jesus' birth? Isn't it possible that you could just pick a day of the year and call it presents day? That might be a bit more honest. It's not crazy to assume that the things in our life that are most important to us are the things that we talk about the most. So if you're a traditionalist, you can still pick the end of the year as a time where you go out and buy presents.

Are you really celebrating the presidents on presidents day?

Laborers on labor day?

These are just the obvious ones. I know people who take the time to honor Dr. King on his day. I know people who think and talk about veterans on their day. I know families that gather around their table and give thanks on Thanksgiving. It makes sense that you'd keep the ones that matter to you.

I'm not saying that we should get rid of the holidays - I'm just saying that we should just be honest about, and really celebrate the stuff that's most important to us.


  1. Anonymous4:58 PM

    Jehovah's Witnesses think you should celebrate any and every day as a blessing and that holidays are contrived and pagan because you are worshipping (celebrating) something other than God (except they celebrate Easter and weddings). It's hard to disagree with them on that point (if you are worshipping a holiday, that is).

    I happen to like contrived holidays, though, and I don't think Jesus minds if I celebrate a fat man in a red suit on a day that he was not even born (as long as I worship Jesus and not the guy in the red suit).

    Wouldn't life be boring without all the silly traditions and celebrations?

  2. I sorta agree with anonymous on this one. It kinda annoys me when people go nuts about "reclaiming" Christmas or any other holiday. Let's worship Jesus every day, and enjoy one day every year where we can wake up early and open presents. I love the Christmas season, and that has more to do with lights and trees and shopping and snow and music than with Jesus. But that doesn't mean I don't love Jesus. I just also love Christmas. Both can be true.

    And if anyone even thinks of trying to take Flag Day away from me, it will get VERY ugly.

  3. My parents were married on Flag Day!! June 14! Can you imagine a more romantic holiday?

  4. In Columbus there is a mass held every year prior to the start of the parade. Honestly I have not been to the mass or the parade in years, however last time I was there I recall the priest very specifically talking about St. Patrick and what he means to Christianity. That is also where I first learned that he was a slave.

    I also believe that St. Patrick's Day is about celebrating our Irish heritage. Every year at the Irish Family Reunion that immediately follows the parade there are dozens of booths & displays set-up with information on Irish culture, history and heritage. Several of the Irish books that I have read dealing with our culture and hsitory I purchased at the Dublin Irish Festival.

    Is it a giant party - yes. But can we also learn about St. Patrick and our Irish culture and history - most definitely.

  5. well that's sort of my point. There is always stuff around if you want to learn about any holiday. I just don't know anybody who is talking about St. Patrick being a slave who brought Christianity to Ireland.

    I know a ton of people talking about the parades, the green beer, or going out on St. Patty's day.

    It's like my Christmas point. You can show up at church, read books, learn about the incarnation - I just don't see it. And that's ok if you're into the other stuff...

    let's just call it my green beer day


    my consumer day

    or my day to salute the flag and think about flags...