Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Holidays and anti-holidays

(Originally written in 2008.)
   I've noticed that our holidays have opposites or anti-holidays. It is sometimes difficult to identify an anti-holiday, as the opposition between holidays can be hidden somewhere beneath their apparent purposes. I'll save you the trouble by outlining the holiday opposite-pairs below.

   The most obvious holiday - anti-holiday pair is Memorial Day and Labor Day. I know that Memorial Day is primarily set aside for honoring the great sacrifice of our fallen service men and women and that Labor Day is set aside for recognizing the pains of childbirth. (That was a joke. OK?) There's nothing in those stated purposes that makes them opposites.
   However, the holidays have secondary purposes that are indeed polar opposites. Memorial Day is the day we take off from work in order to open up our swimming pools for the summer. Labor Day is the day we take off from work in order to close up our swimming pools for the winter.
   Now, what about Halloween and Valentine's Day? They're opposites because on one you need to travel around in search of candy, and on the other you have candy delivered.
   New Year's Eve is actually the opposite of New Year's Day. On the Eve, we try to squeeze in doing all the reckless, fun things we hoped we'd get the chance to do all year long. On the Day, resolutions take effect and we try to postpone doing all the reckless, fun things we know we're going to end up doing anyway.
   The Fourth of July's anti-holiday is just 11 days later on St. Swithun's Day. On the Fourth, as we watch fireworks, we all make the same sound, "Ooooooh!" But when someone tells us it's St. Swithun's Day, our sound changes to its opposite, "Whoooooo?"
   Easter and Thanksgiving, both joyous family occasions, are actually holiday opposites because of the stage of life of the bird on the holiday menus: unborn chickens on Easter and overgrown Turkeys on Thanksgiving.
   Christmas has two different anti-holidays. The first is St. Patrick's Day, since on Christmas we try to wear red and on St. Pat's we wear green. The second anti-Christmas shouldn't require any explanation at all. It's Arbor Day.

   Well, I hope you found these observations somehow useful or at least enjoyable. Happy Anti-Arbor Season everyone!