Holidays Through The Ages
In honor of July 4th, I'd like to be lazy and repost a column I wrote several months ago, rather that doing actual work and coming up with something original.
After August, we get a holiday a month until February. (Everyone knows Valentine’s day doesn’t count.) Labor Day in September, Halloween in October, Thanksgiving in November, Christmas in December and New Year’s in January, mostly.
I think you can judge a lot about a culture by how they celebrate holidays in relation to the holiday’s original meaning. To wit:
Original Meaning: To acknowledge the value and contribution of workers to society, and give them a day off.
Current Meaning: Get toasted and cause a car accident.
Original Meaning: To put out pumpkins so that the evil spirits that roam the earth on All Hallow’s Eve don’t enter your home, steal your baby, make faces at your dog and eat everything in your refrigerator, including the six-month old bean casserole.
Altered Meaning: To dress up in fun costumes, and go door-to-door for candy or have fun at a party.
Current Meaning: To lock the kids up all night because psychopaths and pedophiles are everywhere, roaming the streets in order to enter your home, steal your baby, make faces at your dog and eat everything in your refrigerator, including the six-month old bean casserole. And if the child even mutters the word "Halloween," he or she immediately becomes a godless Satan worshipper for life, and promptly wanders off in search of a goat to sacrifice.
Original Meaning: "Thank God we’re alive, and made it through that horrible winter. Now we can kill Indians- (Pauses as the Historical Revisionist Politically Correct Lawyers pull up in a black ox-cart, and hands a paper to the speaker, then trot off) Make that Native Americans. Also, Payne, Higgensworth, Jenkins; apparently you’re now gay. (the aforementioned’s wives look at them in shock) Not that there’s anything wrong with that. *nervous cough* Well, on with Manifest Destiny."
Current Meaning: To gather with family and join into a gluttony contest. The die-harders are known to fast for the previous day in order to be able to stuff down more food. The biggest glutton wins the Alka-Seltzer. Then, it's off to get drunk and watch football.
Original Meaning: A Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Christ. Consisted of an extra church service.
Altered Meaning: The biggest orgy of consumerism in the year, with people required to spend at least $750 dollars per person. Fights break out over the last Fad-Toy-Of-The-Season. You end up in debt for the rest of your life. Name changed into Xmas for convenience and to ditch that ridiculous dogmatic baggage.
Current Meaning: basically the Altered Meaning, but don’t forget that Christmas is Really About Being Together With Those You Love, even though it was originally about Christians celebrating the birth of Christ.
Original Meaning: To get drunk and act like an ass for no other reason that it becomes a new calendar year.
Current Meaning: Now we have Tequila.
There’s the report card. Make of the results what you will. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to start fasting.