529: Celebration

What’s your favorite holiday to celebrate? Why?


Full episode script

So back in episode 480, we talked about how decorating for the holidays tends to – quote – communicate a more friendly outward appearance. In other words, it’s probably good for your neighborhood. But – that ignored one very important question. What holiday?

The choice of what holiday – or what quote-unquote holiday – to celebrate has become in some ways easier and more complicated than ever. We will talk about why this is, but first I think it’s important to dig down in to why a holiday is even a thing.

If you believe the 1917 article from The Biblical World journal published by the University of Chicago, the value of a national holiday is in the opportunity to pass on national values of patriotism, and, quote, “rightly interpreted many of these days stand for ideal values.”

And while that article goes WAY overboard in my opinion in talking about how we should and shouldn’t interpret a holiday, the base assumption that holidays can have a very important cultural value is a valid one. As the National Association for the Education of Young Children puts it, quote:

Holiday celebrations can be wonderful opportunities for children to learn about the traditions and values that are cherished parts of people’s lives.

Put a little differently by Scott Rousseau writing for Inter-nations, quote:

“Traditional celebrations are some of the core aspects of any culture. Whether it is a wedding, a harvest festival, a religious holiday, or a national observance, our celebrations are woven tightly into our overall cultural identity.”

And cultures – thankfully for some and frustratingly for others – can and often do change, develop, and reorganize themselves. In 2015, our friends at the Pew Research Center took a look at the shifting attitudes towards and traditions around the Christmas holiday. They found that, quote:

“Nine-in-ten Americans say they celebrate Christmas. […] But only about half see Christmas mostly as a religious holiday, while one-third view it as more of a cultural holiday.”

While I personally tend to cringe every time someone talks about how the Millennial generation is SO different than others, there is some research that fits. As digital marketing agency 360i points out, quote:

Millennials’ acceptance of the modern family has made them more open to reinventing traditional holidays by creating new celebrations and traditions with the people they care for most. For example, “Friendsgiving” – which provides all the frills of a Thanksgiving feast with none of the family awkwardness or drama – is celebrated by one out of five Millennials. “Galentine’s Day,” a spinoff of Valentine’s Day, eliminates the pressure of being in a relationship by simply celebrating friendship. These new traditions reflect Millennials’ rejection of conventional celebrations in favor of shared experiences with their modern families.

And sometimes, the holidays embraced by ANY generation as an incarnation of current culture can look very different. Just take a look at some of the 1,500 national and international days, weeks, and months listed at national day calendar and you might find a holiday just for you.

This script may vary from the actual episode transcript.