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Merry Festivus!

Wheelock College Library: Merry Festivus!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Merry Festivus!

Every year following Thanksgiving, a familiar feeling begins to set in.  Those songs!  Those lights!  Those decorations!  And suddenly I remember: I couldn't care less about Christmas.  I know I'm mostly alone on this one, but I can't help it: I'm immune to holiday cheer.

Fortunately, there's an alternative for people like me.  It's not Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, or even Chinese New Year.

It's Festivus!  Celebrated every year on December 23rd (or whenever you feel like celebrating it), Festivus is an ancient, enduring tradition that dates back to 1997 AD.  Its mystic and sacred origins emerged from an episode of the television show Seinfeld.  Anyone can celebrate Festivus, no matter your religious background, ethnicity or level of aversion to the Christmas holiday (though a high amount of the latter certainly helps).

How you celebrate Festivus is a matter of personal taste, but there are a few essentials:
  • The Festivus Pole: instead of a tree or menorah, Festivus decorations center around (and in fact are often solely comprised of) a plain metal pole.  Don't have a pole?  That's OK!  Anything metallic, or even a crude drawing of a metal pole, will suffice.
  • The Airing of Grievances: did anything or anyone particularly upset you during the past year?  This is your chance to let the world know!  If Thanksgiving is the time for remembering what you're thankful for, Festivus provides an opportunity to vent frustrations.  This can take any form you like, within the bounds of national, state and/or local laws.
  • Feats of Strength: the best part of Festivus.  Again, it's open to interpretation, but tradition dictates targeting the strongest or most powerful member of a given social group, and attempting to diminish this person's power, often by wrestling him or her to the ground.  In the absence of such a figure, an escalating series of dares is also acceptable.
So tell me, fellow Christmas-unenthusiasts: how will you celebrate Festivus this year?

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