11/21/2012

When I am King: Thanksgiving

When I am King...

There will be more honest holidays.

Thanksgiving is, to me, the holiday that is most quintessentially American. It is also the holiday that is truest to the original spirit of the event.

The honesty of the holiday is seen by examining other major holidays:

Christmas is, at least since the Christians took it over in hostile takeover bid, a time to celebrate the birth of Christ. So we kill each other in mobs at the store and spend ourselves deeply into debt to buy items we don’t need and don’t have room for, wrap them up in single-use paper that goes immediately thereafter into the landfill, put them under a fake (or recently killed) pine tree, and spend the holiday exchanging gifts. And we eat too much. I'm not seeing the connection here.

New Years is a day so confusing to most of us (celebrating the meta idea of the incrementing of the least significant digit of the number representing the year), that we end up binge drinking because we can’t figure out what else to do. And we eat too much.

Easter, another pagan celebration morphed into a Christian holiday, is about the re-birth of Christ. Because I guess the huge celebration at Christmas wasn’t enough for the guy? I’m not positive, but I think Christ is mostly famous for being the only person in history to get two birthday celebrations during the year. Maybe it’s because his main birthday is on Christmas, so his parents felt sorry for him. To celebrate this event, we find candy and hard-boiled eggs that were hidden by a mythical rabbit. And we eat too much.

Resurrection, rabbits, candy, eggs: I don’t get it. Maybe I’m not religious enough. I think the holiday marketing people were sniffing glue when they came up with this one.

The Fourth of July is also a very American holiday, celebrating our independence from that government that taxed us so that we could tax ourselves instead. So we celebrate it with fireworks. And we eat and drink too much at picnics. The connection between independence and blowing stuff up at picnics seems a tad tenuous. Maybe it’s because the original celebrations of people standing around waiting to sign a document weren’t quite riveting enough.

Halloween is one that I think nobody understands. There’s something about scary things, which devolves into going to strangers’ houses begging for candy. After which we eat too much of it. Again, the original idea somehow got lost in the current celebration.
Thanksgiving, on the other hand, is true to its roots, and 100% American. The original event was the celebratory meal between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans, a relaxing time of togetherness and good cheer, right before the invaders spent the next 300 years taking forcing them off their land. The current holiday celebration is similarly about gathering with friends and family and eating. The purpose and the celebration are exactly the same thing, minus the bit about taking their land (because that part’s done).

Meanwhile, the holiday is all-American. Not only does it commemorate the event several hundred years ago that happened on American soil, but, more importantly, we get to eat and drink too much, which is just about as American as you can get.

When I am King, more holidays will be true to their roots. But rather than create a bunch of celebrations that tie directly into events in tedious ways (do you really want to spend Flag Day waving a flag around?), we will create new holidays that are based around food and drink. For example, we could create a day in honor of the hot dog eating contest winner, on which we all gorge ourselves on hot dogs all day. Another holiday might celebrate the establishment of college fraternities, which everyone would remember (and then forget) by drinking too much.

We won’t stop until the holiday calendar is full, and the people are too.

(Aside: Here's a Thanksgiving poem for you: http://chetchat.blogspot.com/2012/11/thanksgiving-is-here-ode-to-gluttony.html)
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