The Real Meaning Behind Our Holidays
As we celebrate various holidays, it occurs to me that the original purpose of a few of the festive dates on our annual communal calendar have been lost. Often their intended significance belies the reality. It is in that spirit that I have come up with an annual holiday list in which I attempt to call the “real” shots.
New Year’s Eve/Day
Okay: A day to revel in new beginnings as we welcome a new year.
But seriously: Objects dropping from the sky. Obligatory smooching. By the time you finally get your children to bed at 2 am, you have roughly four hours of slumber until you are awakened with a bang. Your children found those noisemakers and are partying like a heavy-metal hair band. It will take a fistful of Advil and 14 gallons of coffee to make it through the first day of the year.
Okay: The 14th day of February is set aside as a day to celebrate love and romance.
But seriously: You help your children fill out a gazillion miniature Valentines for their classmates and spend hours finding that perfect card and present for your husband. That evening you light some candles and get gussied up for dinner. If you’re newly married, you might even shave your legs. Ooooo la la!
Your sweetheart? He grabbed the first card he saw on his way home from work. Same goes for the jewelry. That night, as you wait for hours at the restaurant for your table, you suffer the stares of strangers as they debate whether or not you are a rapper due to the gigantic moonstone boulder pendant hanging from your neck.
St. Patrick’s Day
Okay: Celebrated for over 1,000 years, this cultural and religious holiday is marked by eating, drinking, dancing, and feasting.
But seriously: I got nothin’ here. Go Irish—You nailed it!
Okay: The second Sunday in May is designated as a day to honor our mothers.
But seriously: Someone obviously confused this day with Labor Day—m’kay? Every mom out there knows that after breakfast in bed and the handmade cards, she will spend the next few hours cleaning up a crime scene of glitter, pots, pans, and egg goo that has defiled her once-sparkling-clean domicile. But all those extra hugs, kisses, and “Mom, U are more butifool than ranbows” messages are worth it.
The 4th of July
Okay: This is the day that celebrates our nation’s independence.
But seriously: A better name would be: National Emergency Room/Xanax Day. Case in point: There you are, exhausted from an afternoon of barbequing, when Uncle John unveils a truckload of terrifying (and illegal) fireworks he smuggled across the border. He then hands out white-hot burning metal rods called sparklers and encourages your offspring to run around the yard with them. Every year our children survive this holiday with all of their fingers in tact is a miracle.
Okay: A creation of the labor movement, this “workingman’s” holiday commemorates the economic and social contributions workers have made to our country.
But seriously: This end of summer holiday is nothing BUT labor. You organize the picnic, set up croquet and badminton in the yard, and cook for three days in preparation. I will go so far as to say that this holiday should replace Mother’s Day, fitting since it has the word “Labor” in the title. A person who makes an economic contribution is called a “worker.” An actual laborer is a child-bearer. Am I right?
Okay: This national holiday is designated as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest.
But seriously: Sorry, Pilgrims, but all we care about on this day is gravy and football. Just one finely textured utterance of “Mmmmm” mixed with “WOW!” makes our endless hours in the kitchen totally worth it. Yeah, we’re easy like that.
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