The days we choose nationally to set apart as holidays, special days, days of celebration or sorrow – these days say a lot about us.
“Holiday”, unsurprisingly, comes from an old English word meaning “Holy day”. These are days that are assigned a special place and specific purpose. Days that are different. Important.
Think about the calendar holidays of the country you live in. What do they celebrate? What values do they emphasize? Do you agree? Which ones do you participate in the most? Do you ignore some of them? Which ones are really important to you? Which ones do you see only as a break from work, not caring about their intended purpose? Which ones completely fail their intended purpose?
I have a problem with calendar days. It may just be me, but it seems like most of them are appreciated much more for the break from work and the festivities around them, than they are actually used to remember and honor their origin.
For Americans – when was the last Thanksgiving that you actually spent more than a few seconds thinking about the origin of the holiday? Don’t you and those around you spend most of the time planning the festivities and enjoying each other’s company? That’s not bad, but you shouldn’t need a calendar day for that.
I’m going to skip past all of the banal and repulsive lesser calendar days that annually celebrate some cultural abomination.
I don’t think we should do away with Thanksgiving or Labor Day, or any of the other major holidays in America (or any other country), but I do think we as a culture have let these holidays lose their meaning.
Either we should spend serious time and thought in remembrance, or we should stop pretending like we actually care. We should admit that we treat the day like a generic day off. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
I just hate pretending.
As a family, or an individual, stop “celebrating” holidays that you don’t agree with or find importance in. Focus on the days that you truly find meaning in, and celebrate them seriously, spending time thinking about the original event that spurred the creation of the holiday.
Make each one truly a “holy day” for yourself, set apart because it is really important. Because it deserves to be remembered and honored. Don’t pollute the memory of those really important days by lumping them together with a National Donut Day.