In addition to Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, there are other celebrations that are honored during the holiday season.The Winter Solstice occurs on December 21 each year in the Northern Hemisphere. First observed in many cultures as a pagan ritual in many cultures, this date has its auspicious roots in commemorating the longest night of the year, and the return of the sun caused by the revolution of the earth's tilted axis.
But there is no holiday celebration that quite rivals Festivus, which originated and was forgotten in Roman times, until revived by a Seinfeld TV episode in 1997.
Passed down throughout the ages, from raising hell on the streets of Rome 1000s of years ago, to the cantankerous Costanza household in New York City, this quirky holiday has been popularized once again.
In a book titled, "Festivus" The Holiday for the Rest of Us," author Allen Salkin chronicles the history of the ancient tradition of celebrating Festivus. Based on "exclusiveness" its Salkin's belief that while every other holiday excludes someone (e.g. Christians, Jews, Blacks, etc.) Festivus on the other hand "welcomes all" because according to Salkin, "everyone's in on the joke."
According to a CNN report, Tony Leto, who heads sales and marketing, saw an article about Festivus that Salkin wrote in The New York Times in 2004, a precursor to his book, and thought cutting up pipes to make aluminum holiday poles would be an easy -- and fun -- side business. Festivuspoles.com, is now an online store outlet sells the nonsectarian celebratory metal.
Social networking sites and holiday-specific venues -- like festivusbook.com and festivusweb.com -- are available for those who want to share the cheer, or jeers of this raucous holiday.
Now that Festivus have reemerged as a bonafide alternative to the traditional holiday celebrations, I am sure others will follow. With a little creativity one could imagine "Cashmas" as a holiday that flaunts "one upmanship" or "Hanuchristzaa" as a celebration for interfaith and interracial families. Perhaps, readers -- after you give it some thought -- you can provide us with some additional examples.
Personally however, I think those Romans and the Costanzas were on to something with Festivus. The airing of grievances is a cathartic exercise and what better time to do it than the end of year, when we all have so much to vent before New Year arrives and we are obligated to issue resolutions of how we are going to try to do better next year.
Happy Festivus and hold the tinsel!