I noticed something quite peculiar about Americans recently. That is which holidays we take seriously and which ones we don’t. “Oh Franklin, you debonair, dashing, and dastardly blogger you, whatever do you mean?” (we all know you’re thinking it. It’s okay I don’t mind) What I mean is that as our culture becomes more secular, our priority in holidays shifts.
Once upon a time, the Puritans, whose haunting fear was that someone somewhere was happy, got quite irate at those in their midst that would dare celebrate and have fun on Christmas (how Catholic of them). Now every year we get a constant stream of stories and articles of how it isn’t polite to say Merry Christmas (well merry Christmas then) and there seems to be a concerted effort to turn the Christmas season into a more general, amorphous “holiday season.” Yes, we are still obligated to an extent to give gifts, but more and more it stinks of rank consumerism than something heartfelt. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that as we get more secular as a society, the more uncertain the whole point of Christmas is.
We see the same problem even more so with Easter. I for one refuse to hide those stupid eggs (mostly because I was forced as a child to put the candy in most of those, which ruined the romance of it just a tad). If I have to keep up with the whole charade of a giant rabbit for some reason hiding eggs then I better get a chance at eternal salvation and forgiveness for my sins. Simply put, no Jesus, no Easter. As society secularizes the holiday quickly loses its point.
Now onto the holidays we Americans take really seriously. The first is the Fourth of July. It seems obvious that this would stand the test of time because except for a few loon-bag leftists, most Americans strangely like if not love their own country. We know what we ought to do on this day; fireworks, parades, and a whole-lotta patriotism.
Another is Thanksgiving which is the quintessentially American holiday. To an even greater degree than with the Fourth of July, this holiday is sacrosanct to Americans. You never read stories about how outdated it is. You are flat-out expected to participate in the festivities, even if it means participating with people you don’t like. It contains a distinctly religious air about it.
So what should we do? I don’t know. If we accept that this is a problem It does not seem so easy to turn the dial back. The stereotypical answer would be to deal with you and your own. If you want holidays to be more meaningful then that’s on you and your family.