While watching a news segment discussing making Election Day a federal holiday, I got to thinking about holidays.
Several years ago, I stopped celebrating all holidays except for Halloween. Naturally, as a haunter, I care a lot about Halloween. But all of the other holidays are rather meaningless to me. When I started thinking about the long list of holidays, I realized that there are a lot of holidays that are meaningless to most other people. For example – President’s Day. When’s the last time you saw anyone “celebrate” this federal holiday, apart from elementary school students who are still learning about the presidents and federal employees getting the day off of work? Does anyone still celebrate Columbus Day except for the same two aforementioned groups?
This is how I feel about every other holiday. Of course, I’m realistic. I don’t expect everyone else to agree with me on all of the holidays. Religious people to still want to celebrate Christmas and Easter. Veterans to continue treating Memorial Day and Veterans Day as sacrosanct.
But I do believe that we should evaluate traditions objectively and discard the ones that we find no value in. Do I actually get something out of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, or am I only celebrating it because of the ritual expectation of celebrating it? What about St. Valentine’s Day? New Year’s? Thanksgiving? Labor Day?
Should we capitulate to Hallmark, or should we start our own, more meaningful traditions? Just because they won’t be federally-recognized days off of work doesn’t mean we can’t invent our own holidays and festivals and celebrations in accordance with our values and passions. We can create holidays that we are interested in, get behind, and actually want to celebrate.
Although I don’t celebrate individual holidays, I do appreciate the different ambiences, tones, menus, and décor of the various seasons. So I came up with an idea to create four new holidays for myself based on the four seasons. I put together a list of every holiday, festival, and tradition that I could think of and used that list for inspiration – to cherry-pick my favorite elements and incorporate new elements to form completely new and personalized seasonal holidays for myself.
I’m going to share some of my ideas with you. Not because I want you to follow in my footsteps. I just want to demonstrate how this process can work and show examples of this concept.
I created four holidays or “seasonal celebrations”. Each holiday lasts for an entire month (much in the same way most people celebrate Christmas in this country), and collectively, these holidays are spaced evenly throughout the calendar during the peak month of each meteorological season.
Having each holiday last a month doesn’t mean taking four months off of work every year, or four month’s worth of events and rituals. Each month long celebration is observed with passive things like music and decor, and punctuated by a few days of events and feasts.
The Spring Holiday
I plan to celebrate the spring holiday during the month of April. The themes center around curing cabin fever, and include energy and revitalization, freedom and mobility.
Since I’m not really into flowers or plants or any of the other decor traditionally associated with spring, I won’t have any decor for this particular season. Instead, I’ll use the time for spring cleaning, rearrange furniture, and give my home a fresh, new look. To get myself pumped to get out of the house, I’ll play upbeat, classical road trip songs on my stereo.
The events I have planned for my spring holiday are a bit of a cheat – since I do them year-round anyway. But in keeping with the theme, I think it’s important to go on a big road trip and go camping during the peak of this holiday.
For the feast, I want to do a breakfast buffet of eggs, breakfast meats, cheeses, croissants, citrus fruits, and tropical fruits.
The Summer Holiday
In July, I would celebrate the summer holiday. Themes would include rest and relaxation, fun, and indulging in vices.
I plan to decorate my home with appropriate knickknacks for a luau or a Polynesian setting and play reggae music all month long.
I’m undecided on the feast – I’m debating between Polynesian fare or simple picnic food like barbecue and lemonade. A couple of visits to the beach would be in order, and privately, I’d indulge in whatever vices I’m in the mood for.
Celebrated in October, the autumn holiday will naturally be my favorite. Its themes will center around death, horror, the fall harvest, and the changing leaves.
Decorating won’t be difficult, since I decorate my home for Halloween all year long. The stereo will play my favorite Halloween, gothic, and dark metal music.
The feast will include my harvest favorites, such as beef stroganoff, roasted potatoes, sage stuffing, biscuits, steamed broccoli, cranberry sauce, apples, nuts, bourbon pecan pie, pumpkin pie, and hot apple cider.
My events will of course include haunting, watching horror movies, and roaming forests and graveyards late at night.
Finally, we arrive at the winter holiday, celebrated in January. Its themes include love, companionship, coziness, comfort, warmth, and hibernation.
In winter, I like to decorate with some twinkling white Christmas lights to help brighten the ambient lighting and combat the seasonal affective disorder I experience each winter. I’d throw in some evergreen garlands with blue accents. I’m actually fond of traditional holiday carols, even if their lyrics are explicitly Christmas-oriented or religious in nature.
I’d spend much of the month snuggled up in blankets (or a blanket fort) and indulge in other comforts like hot cocoa, fires, reading, and so forth. The feast would likely include my ham and cheese chowder, pan-fried asparagus, cookies, and fudge.