Saturday, December 20, 2008

Grab the pole...Let's celebrate !!

This Tuesday, December 23, is Festivus, a non-denominational holiday to be celebrated by those frustrated or jaded with the commercialism and pressure surrounding the Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa season.

Festivus is an annual holiday that was made popular by Reader's Digest writer and editor Daniel O'Keefe. It was introduced to popular culture by O'Keefe's son Daniel, a scriptwriter for the TV show Seinfeld, on December 18, 1997, in the episode "The Strike". (Season 9, Episode 10). The holiday is celebrated each year on December 23, but many people celebrate it at other times, often to avoid the Christmas rush. The holiday includes novel practices such as the "Airing of Grievances", in which each person tells everyone else all the ways they have disappointed him/her over the past year. Also, after the Festivus meal, the "Feats of Strength" are performed, involving wrestling the head of the household to the floor, the holiday only ending if the head of the household is actually pinned.

Some people, influenced or inspired by Seinfeld, now celebrate the holiday, in varying degrees of seriousness; some carefully following rules from the TV show or books, others humorously inventing their own versions.

Grab the pole...Let's celebrate !! AND NO TINSEL !!!

Allen Salkin
New York Times
Allen Salkin cast industrial films in Hong Kong, wholesaled rubber duckies in Las Vegas, picked oranges in Crete, peddled oil paintings door-to-door in Western Australia, penned stories for New York Magazine, Details, Heeb, Yoga Journal, The Village Voice and other venues, taught Journalism at NYU and, and wrote the book "Festivus: The Holiday for the Rest of Us." He is a staff reporter at The New York Times.

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