Ya know I try to be politically correct and not step on anyone’s toes (we are still allowed to use that phrase; I checked. It isn’t considered sexual harrassment). But there are times I have to drop my jaw in amazement of how far this whole PC thing has come. Then there are other times I hear something and think I must have been living under a rock!
Case in point; While watching FOX News yesterday, they were talking about how bad it has become with trying to celebrate the birth of Jesus and those who don’t WANT to celebrate the birth of Jesus should keep to themselves if those same people expect those of us who DO celebrate that day to keep to OURSELVES (are ya still with me here??). Then came the term Happy Festivus and something about a pole. I had NO idea what they were talking about. It could be that I am the only one who doesn’t know about “festivus” but in case I am not, here is an explanation…
Festivus is an annual holiday created by writer Dan O'Keefe and introduced into popular culture by his son Daniel, a scriptwriter for the TV show Seinfield. Although the original Festivus took place in February 1966 as a celebration of O'Keefe's first date with his wife, Deborah many people now celebrate the holiday on December 23, as depicted on a Seinfeld episode.
According to O'Keefe, the name Festivus "just popped into his head. 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 or 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, with the holiday only ending if the head of the household is actually pinned. These conventions originated with the TV episode.
The original holiday featured far more peculiar practices, as detailed in the younger Daniel O'Keefe's book The Real Festivus, which provides a first-person account of an early version of the Festivus holiday as celebrated by the O'Keefe family, and how O'Keefe amended or replaced details of his father's invention to create the Seinfeld episode.
Some people, influenced or inspired by Seinfield now celebrate the holiday in varying degrees of seriousness; the spread of Festivus in the real world is chronicled in the book Festivus: The Holiday for the Rest of Us.
The Festivus Pole
In the episode, though not in the original O'Keefe Family celebration, the tradition of Festivus begins with an aluminum pole. During Festivus, the Festivus Pole is displayed unadorned. The pole was chosen apparently in opposition to the commercialization of highly decorated Christmas trees, because it is "very low-maintenance". And easy to store.
Festivus (with long "i", festīvus) is a Latin word, but not the name of a festival: in one reference it is said to mean "festive". A scholarly work on the etymology of the word by Dr. Brian A. Krostenko summarized in Festivus: The Holiday for the Rest of Us, concludes that in ancient Rome the word evolved, referring at times to the way the common folk would misbehave on official religious holidays, and at other times to a certain snooty attitude amongst the higher classes. It is possible that the elder O'Keefe, who was studying ancient rituals, knew this etymology and adapted it for his family's holiday. The English word festive derives from festīvus, which in turn derives from festus "joyous; holiday, feast day".
I use to watch Seinfield but I must’ve missed all of this.
Do “non celebrators” of Chrismas induldge in fudge and Christmas cookies? I’m thinking if they are true to their belief, they must not.
And on a closing note, one time I put the following on one of my trail reports;
“If there had been 3 wisewomen, they would have arrived on time, they would have brought a casserole and there would have been peace on earth.” I never in my life thought anyone would be offended at that! BUT, I received a scathing email from a man who was so upset with my “men bashing”that he UNSUBSCRIBED from the trail report. So, I thought, I must’ve been totally out of my mind to have put something on there that I felt was in good fun.
I removed it from the trail report with an apology to those who would be recieveing the trail report twice that day and explained that due to a moments lapse in my judgement I had offended at least one reader with that comment. Later that day, I had an email from a man who said he was a Minister and thought what I had written about the 3 wisewomen was pretty darn funny and if HE didn’t have a problem with it, he couldn’t understand why anyone else would. He further stated he was going to use it in his sermon on Sunday!
Ya just never know!
- Cathy Clementz
- A long time ago, I was a child. (I started out as Cathy First from Colon, Mi.) For the past several years I’ve been an adult. A lot of things went on between those two stages of life; probably no more or no less than anyone elses. My husband and I moved to “da U .P” from southern Lower Michigan several years ago (yes we were trolls at one time). We owned and operated and operate Clementz’s Northcountry Campground and Cabins just north of Newberry, Michigan until May 2015. We have grown kids and grandkids (who all live downstate). My passion is life and all that Nature has to offer us and trying to photograph it in unique ways. Our intention in life is to see all that Nature has to offer us. We hope that you will be a part of our adventures as we cruise through our lives together. Come back often!