Hoping Your Festivus will be filled with the Airing of Grievances.
Sunday, December 19, 2004
This guest column is provided to us by Dale Carnast, Director of Religious Studies at Boston Harbor University.
In what was perhaps the most memorable episode of one of the most beloved television shows of our time, the word “Festivus” was said. Since then, it has been seeping into the collective unconscious. A search of Google news finds dozens of articles written about the holiday. A web search on Google finds over 100,000 mentions. It is estimated that this year, over 2700 Festivus parties will be held.
The traditions of the holiday include an aluminum pole, venerated for its strength to weight ratio
The holiday is celebrated on December 23rd. The traditions of the holiday include an aluminum pole, venerated for its strength to weight ratio, the airing of grievances around the dinner table, and feats of strength. Perhaps you have noticed the aluminum pole that I had Scrappy place at the top of our site?
The origins of the holiday go back a little before that Seinfeld episode. The holiday was invented by Dan O’Keefe, a former editor for readers digest. O’Keefe mentioned Festivus in is book “Stolen Lightening”, 1977, a study of cults, astrology and paranormal as a defense against social pressures. O’Keefe’s son, Daniel, was a writer on Seinfeld.
The holiday was invented by Dan O’Keefe, a former editor for readers digest.
There are many reasons to celebrate Festivus. As stated in the Seinfeld episode, it provides a simple celebration for those burned out by the commercialism of Christmas. It allows a secular winter celebration, which is important in todays less homoreligious families. It opens holidays to that unrepresented minority who fear large men in red suits. It is safe for those allergic to poinsettias. It allows family and or friends to get together in a time when their holidays line up. Many find it fun to be involved in a new and quickly evolving holiday. Perhaps some are just rebelling against those who claim saying anything as secular as “Happy Holidays” as an affront.
Festivus is gathering a steady group of detractors.
Festivus is gathering a steady group of detractors. Some believe the holiday is to dangerous, citing the case of Nelson Manvil, who was killed last year when his newly purchased 10 foot Festivus pole got caught in power lines. Others are not happy with yet another winter holiday that not only does not represent the birth of Christ, but is fully nondenominational. Many point to a riot started in 2002 when an airing of grievances went bad. And no one can forget 1999 when Jamie Parmas was hospitalized after a feat of strength challenge, which ended his hopes of an NFL career.
Several of these people have started an organization, “Festivus Affronts God”, based in Houston Texas. “This is just another effort of the Jews and the homosexual agenda, and the same goes for Chanukah,” said Founder Harlen McAntee, during a recent rally. The F.A.G., pronounced: eff ay gee, has already held one event. Unfortunately, no one told them that aluminum poles do not burn. Perhaps these F.A.G.s would benefit from an airing of grievances. Members of the “Homosexual Agenda” were unavailable for comment, as they do not hold meetings in December.
So, “Happy Festivus” to its followers. And a reminder to the Festivus detractors, Festivus is for the rest of us.