Holiday Perspectives.  By Dean Christopher

Holiday Perspectives. By Dean Christopher

. 4 min read

What might our familiar holidays have been under other circumstances? One writer explores a fun and clever reimagining.

We are so accustomed to the yearly routine being broken up by occasional holidays, that we never bother to wonder where they originated.

Of course, some, like religious holidays, preserve sacred traditions dating from ancient times. Or they celebrate the changing of the seasons. Some honor significant people in our personal lives. Others commemorate the lives of famous personalities, or social or cultural icons.

Yet others recall military victories, or national liberations or revolutions. Some are perishable "holidays," artificially contrived for commercial or promotional reasons...and so it goes.

But wait—what might our familiar holidays have been under other circumstances?

Thanksgiving—with its traditional foods—celebrates the Pilgrims' first successful harvest in their new land. But what if Fate had landed them in some place other than America?

Scenario: The Mayflower is blown off course; completely misses the New World; and instead of Plymouth Rock, the Pilgrims land at “Kushiro Rock” on the Japanese island of Hokkaido. As they struggle to establish their colony, indigenous Ainu tribesmen introduce them torice, raw fish, shiso herb, wasabi and shiitake mushrooms. So today, centuries later, Grandma's Thanksgiving menu is: Miso soup, mouth-watering Sashimi with Nori seaweed; exotic Shirako (sperm sacs of cod…imagine the gravy!); heaps of steaming Funazushi (funky fermented carp); and that special grandmotherly treat -- Unagi (grilled eel on rice). Yum!

Scenario: The Resurrection happens in December, not during Earth's annual spring rebirth. The Easter Reindeer streaks across the nighttime sky, hauling sleighloads of lilies and daffodils. Parents hide chocolate polar bears around the house. Easter elf rolls are held on the snowy White House lawn. Beneath the Easter Tree are bunnies and fluffy marshmallow chicks.

Scenario: The calendar has assigned New Year's Eve to July 4th, conveniently consolidating two popular holidays. The glowing ball descends on Times Square on July 3rd at midnight, triggering massive patriotic displays. All sing, "Should Yankee Doodle Be Forgot?" and "God Bless the Calendar." Then, for balance, in the spirit of two springtime somber holidays, Good Friday and Yom Kippur, a full day of fasting follows.

Scenario: Purim combines with Passover, making the Purim feast a de facto eight-night extended Seder. And, in an unprecedented ecumenical gesture, the Christian Twelve Days of Christmas combine with eight days of Chanukah and a week of Kwanzaa, to create a universal month-long religious celebration for all -- which happens to coincide with the Muslim month of Ramadan. Peace reigns on Earth at last!

The dominant “artificial” holiday, celebrated early every year, is Super Bowl Sunday, ostensibly for America's entertainment, but really designed for commercial profit. This sports ritual borders on the religious for millions of Americans: a football match analogous to ancient Roman combats, in which gladiators struggled to kill one another. Their modern counterparts, who only rarely, if ever, actually kill their opponents, are pumped full of performance-enhancing substances to increase their aggressiveness.

This officially sanctioned violence pits two league champions against each other. Not limited to spectators present in the arena, this holiday celebration is broadcast – for great profit - to countless millions of tele-viewers worldwide. Many of them host at-home parties featuring alcoholic beverages, grilled processed meats, and other unhealthy snacks.

But the celebration of Super Bowl Sunday does not end with the game's final whistle. Often supporters of the winning team rampage through the streets, smashing store windows, automobile windshields, and setting fires.  This is their expression of joy.

Meanwhile, supporters of the losing team also often rampage through the streets, smashing store windows, automobile windshields, and setting fires. This is their expression of disappointment.

Thus, the Super Bowl holiday offers something for everyone.

But need that something is something violent?

What if the U.S. had evolved as a peaceful civilization? What if, instead of savage confrontation, we had established the Super Bowl as a Decathlon consisting of the two teams vying instead for dominance in (e.g.)  Chess; Figure Skating; Sculpture; Synchronized Swimming; Mime; Latin Translation; Fashion Design; Finger Painting; Literary and Historical Trivia; and Theoretical Physics?

We humans have the power to change the trajectory of at least some holidays. It's not too late! Let's try.

Take Me Back To The Crush Letter No 40

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