I’ve been thinking a lot about holidays lately and how they work. I touched on this a few weeks back, while writing about Thanksgiving “Eve.” Holidays are not created equal. Some are definitely more important than others, and rightfully so. But what if they weren’t? Some holidays are what I call “Hallmark Holidays.” Their sole existence to make you feel obligated to send a card, to keep the card companies in business, like Sweetest Day and Friendship Day.
There are holidays to celebrate the workplace – Labor Day, Boss’s Day, and Secretary’s Day, currently referred to as Administrative Professionals Day – a day to appreciate administrative assistants. It would be a good time to give appreciation to our co-workers as well, since the good ones help make our jobs easier. But can you imagine the hilarity if there were a song we sang to our co-workers to show that appreciation? I wonder what it might sound like.
Then are the bigger holidays. Holidays that honor others, like Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President’s Day, Pearl Harbor Day, Veteran’s Day, Mother’s and Father’s Day, Memorial and Labor Day. In fact, those last two are so big, they are celebrated throughout entire weekends.
Gee, that would be really wonderful, to have a Mother’s Day Weekend. Three days of gifts and pampering. I think all mothers deserve that kind of holiday. After all, they spend a lot of time doing stuff that nobody else wants to do (oh come on, admit it, Dads!). You can’t say that’s an unreasonable suggestion.
Of course, then we’d have to expand Father’s Day for equal time, because otherwise there would be a lot of whining. Hey, I’m sure every dad out there would spend all three days doing special activities with their kids, though. Because that’s what guys do when they have time off. And yes, you are detecting just the slightest hint of sarcasm there.
There are holidays that celebrate love, like St. Valentine’s Day, and holidays that celebrate a new start, like New Year’s Day and Easter. There are holidays that celebrate excess, like Mardi Gras, and holidays that celebrate the supernatural, like Halloween.
We have very serious holidays like the one that celebrates our country’s independence, and silly, pointless holidays like the one that celebrates fools.
Heck, we even have a holiday that celebrates a rodent finding his shadow or not.
On the popular television show “Seinfeld,” George’s father, in an act of angry rebellion, invented his own holiday, named Festivus.
The holiday’s celebration includes a Festivus dinner, an unadorned aluminum “Festivus pole,” practices such as the “Airing of Grievances” amongst family members, “Feats of Strength” and the labeling of easily explainable events as “Festivus miracles.” George’s father called it, “A Festivus for the rest of us.”
And you know? It wasn’t a half-bad idea. I mean, a lot of good might come from the airing of grievances. Clearing the air can be a very healthy, cathartic event. All kidding aside though, I’ve often thought that there’s a holiday that’s missing. A holiday that celebrates forgiveness.
It’s an act we tend to run away from. We seem to like to hold on to things when we’ve been hurt or wronged. But holding on to grudges is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. It’s not a good thing.
So what if we had a Forgiveness holiday? What would that look like? What would happen if people were encouraged to embrace the act of forgiving?
Maybe instead of making lists of gifts we’d like to get or give to others, perhaps we’d make lists of people we need to forgive. Would there be songs of forgiveness? What might they sound like? Can you imagine carolers in the neighborhood singing songs of forgiveness? Perhaps we’d go to the homes of the people we need to forgive and sing on their doorstep.
A lot of holidays have corresponding colors. What would the colors of forgiveness be? Would we have a Forgiveness Dinner? What would be the traditional foods for such a dinner? And every holiday has some sort of symbol. What would be the symbol for forgiveness?
The answers don’t come easily, which illustrates my point. We’ve really not spent a lot of time considering forgiveness, or the answers would be readily available, and this article completely necessary.
I don’t have the answers either, but I think it’d definitely an interesting concept to think about. I think it’s an important thing to dedicate some time to.
Perhaps forgiveness doesn’t need its own holiday. Perhaps it fits in somewhere between the goodwill we extend in December and the fresh start we anticipate on Jan. 1.
There’s six days in that time span. Plenty of time to sit quietly and reflect on the benefits of letting something go in order to make room for something much better in the new year.
Do yourself a big favor and make sure you find that time.
Originally published December 20, 2013.