Here’s one question I’ve found myself asking over the last few years: is there a point to holidays? Looking on Dictionary.com, a holiday is
a day fixed by law or custom on which ordinary business is suspended in commemoration of some event or in honor of some person.
Beyond the definition, what exactly is a holiday? It’s nothing more than a day that someone, somewhere, somehow managed to convince society should be deemed important. They honor someone or some event of ambiguous importance because we’ve lost the ability to honor that person or event on a daily basis, assuming they were important to begin with.
For example let’s take what is arguably the largest holiday in the Christian religion: Christmas. It’s a highly commercial time. For some, Christmas shopping begins in January and extends throughout the year, while for others it’s a mad dash in a few shopping days prior to December 25. For everyone who considers themselves a Christian and participates in the commercialization of that day, it’s also the largest annual display of hypocrisy ever conceived.
Now my gripe isn’t with any specific holiday, it’s with all holidays.
The Fourth of July commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence. What great way to celebrate the largest unmatched display of courage by recognizing it once a year and forgetting it every other day.
Memorial Day is to commemorate those who paid dearly such that society and posterity may enjoy the freedoms we take for granted every day. Commemorating one day to that memory will never be enough. We take for granted every day freedom of which we are stewards. Recognizing the ultimate sacrifice and those who paid that ultimate price just one day out of the year (two if you count Veteran’s Day) is never enough, especially when we all conveniently forget that we are stewards of liberty every other day of the year.
Veteran’s Day is the day to commemorate those who served this country with honor and lived to tell their story. Why recognize their service just one day of the year, then conveniently forget it every other day of the year? This just does not make sense.
Growing up I was reminded every day of the year of my father’s service to this country. Pictures around the house of my father in his Navy uniform reminded me of the 12 years he gave of himself to this country. For more than 20 years, I’ve carried my late grandfather’s Navy dog tag from his service during the Korean war. Though I don’t say it, I’m proud of them.
Remember that our servicemen, both enlisted and officers, don’t pick the battles they fight. However your support and recognition of our veterans and those currently serving should not be conditioned upon your support or approval of the missions they face. You should always support those currently serving, and recognize those who served with honor, and remember those who perished serving this country.
Next up on the chopping block, New Year’s Day. I can understand wanting a special day for the start of the year, but some of the practices for that particular day just boggle the mind, in my opinion. It’s a new year, but what’s the big deal? You hope that the new year will be better than the one left behind, but if you’re hoping that’s going to happen without any action or change on your part, you’re only wasting your time and effort. This, I believe, is the principal reason why new year resolutions fail.
And after New Year’s is everyone’s either favorite or most detested holiday: Valentine’s Day. There is so much I could say about this day, but I’ll leave it at this: like anniversaries and birthdays, if you think your significant other must do something on this day, you need to re-examine your relationship. Valentine’s Day is a joke, a commercial joke.
"But it’s the one day of the year where you can show each other how much you love them," I’ve heard one person say in attempted defense of the holiday. And my response was simply this, "And how is that any different from any other day of the year?" I don’t need Valentine’s Day as an excuse to take my fiancée out to dinner on the KC Plaza, dine her like she’s never been dined before, then bring her back home and test the boundaries of the local noise ordinances, nor do I need it as a way to convince her that I love her. Same with our anniversary or her birthday.
The best relationships are ones where displays of love are unexpected and spontaneous. Valentine’s Day is going to be either a day of disappointment or a day of illusion. If you truly love the person you’re with, you won’t care what happens on Valentine’s Day, or on any holiday for that matter. You’ll care only that you’re happy together.
Time to bring up Christmas again, this time because I’m bringing up Easter. Two Christian holidays that have become very commercial, all while Christians are screaming about how we don’t appreciate Jesus anymore, assuming you ever appreciated him to begin with.
Like Valentine’s Day for Christians, Christmas and Easter have become days where Christians who still care about their faith, even if they’re apathetic about it the other 363 days of the year (364 on leap years), come together to recognize the supposed divinity of Jesus, hoping that by at least recognizing those two days of the year and praying on those two days, they’ll still be saved and will walk alongside Jesus in heaven.
Can anyone smell the hypocrisy? I’ll give you a hint: it smells a lot like brimstone.
Again, I could go on and on about both Christmas and Easter, but that’s for another rant. And the same with the other holidays for that matter, so perhaps I will rant more about each holiday at later times, and I’ll include anniversaries and birthdays in that list as well.
And in case you couldn’t tell, I’m someone who has become anti-holiday in my experience. I just don’t see the point. If you want to try to convince me otherwise, go ahead, but I’ll warn you in advance that you’re in for one hell of a fight. And if you’re wondering how my fiancée could stay with me with my particular view toward anniversaries, birthdays and holidays, it’s simple: over the 5 1/2 years we’ve been together, we try to keep it all spontaneous.
— Happy whatever day it is you happen to be reading this…