Friday, December 28, 2007

Joyous Kwanzaa Boxing Year!

Due to these holidays sharing the same days, as well as my own personal laziness, I shall be talking about two holidays today: Kwanzaa and Boxing Day. Both holidays are held on the 26th of December, and both involve cultures that did not originate in America, though both have spread to it.

Kwanzaa, being a mostly African holiday, lasts for 7 days and was developed to be an African alternative to Christmas. Don’t believe me? Look it up on Wikipedia. It was started in the 1960’s specifically for African-Americans that aren’t Christian. The original idea, and the basic idea for quite a few families, is to remember your origins, your family, and your race. This was the first, and I believe only, African-American holiday to be created. Sure, the Africans have other holidays, but this one, developed specifically for African-Americans, is the only one to be publicly celebrated without you needing to read a national geographic or an encyclopedia. Kwanzaa is slowly becoming another standard holiday, like Christmas, but the pace it is going will set it back for a while. Currently, it is still for Africans only, but give it time. Soon it may become the holiday for minorities or something, who knows.

As for Boxing Day, now here is a holiday I think everyone should celebrate, even if it is mostly for the Commonwealth of Nations. I first heard about this holiday from an old TV show, M*A*S*H. On that show, Boxing Day was when the troops would switch places. The officers and enlisted men would trade jobs, for 24 hours. Already, I thought this was a great idea! Upper Class and Lower Class trading places? Talk about a great way to try the grass on the other side of the fence. Some might enjoy a day of bliss, whether it be worry free or enjoying the glamour, and some would get a decent humbling that they deserve. As I delved deeper into my research on Boxing Day, I learned that it was significantly more than that. In fact, Wikipedia hasn’t even heard of the version I just spoke of. According to them, Boxing Day, celebrated on the 26th, 27th or 28th, depending on if the 26th is on a weekend, came about from employers leaving a clay box out front of their business, usually a store, and have themselves and the customers place money into this box. At the end of the day, the box would be smashed open and the money would be divided up amongst the employees, that being their end-of-the-year bonus. This isn’t such a bad idea. Wouldn’t you like to get a bonus this way? The boss would be forced to place at least a little bit of money in. And, if you work in a store, the customers would place in money too, potentially tripling your bonus! Sounds like an excellent idea. The only problem I could see is that it might replace the Christmas bonus… unless the boss didn’t need to place any money in the box, in which case he wouldn't lose a cent and the customers could show their appreciation by giving you a grand New Year’s gift.

Speaking of New Years, I might as well throw this in there too. We’ll be celebrating the turning over of the year. We’re going onto 2008, which is 8 years after when the world should have ended, 7 years after it should have ended again, and only 4 years before we try another one. Oh yeah, and Bush finally leaves office.


Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the president of the united states, nor democracy as a whole. But I DO have problems with Bush, as do all democrats and most republicans, and I’ll be happy to see him go.

As for the New Year’s holiday, I honestly think this is a stupid idea. Let’s look at what this “holiday” is all about. We are celebrating the end of the year. We survived another cycle around the sun. Why are we celebrating it on this particular day? Because someone, thousands of years ago, decided that this is the last day of the year. That’s it. Maybe it was one guy, maybe it was a small group. It couldn’t have been a woman, I know that much. Women could not be stupid enough to end a year and begin a season at the same time. I think a bunch of guys were sitting around a fire, drinking liquor, and wanting to throw a party that would keep them moving and bring a lot of warm bodies together. So, on one of the coldest days they could find, they decided, "We’re having a party tonight!" "What’s the occasion?" "We’ve lasted this long, haven’t we? That’s good enough reason." After a few goes at this, they settled of a specific day, which resulted in a calender to keep track of when that day was, and they proceeded to make up a bunch of names for everything that referenced the sun, the moon, and the gods they were worshiping at the time.

As for the New Year’s resolution, which is basically a promise to yourself that you will probably break, I made a resolution long ago to not make anymore resolutions. I haven’t broken it yet, and I don’t plan to.

Grand Boxing Day, Joyous Kwanzaa, Happy New Year, Seasons Greetings, and Happy Holidays to anyone who still thinks it matters.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Time to hang up old red and white socks, clean out the chimney, cut down a perfectly good tree, and hang flashing lights all over it that get hot very easily right next to all of your wooden family heirlooms that were made for just such an occasion.

That’s right folks! Christmas is upon us! One of those holidays that not only let people, but encourage them to make a fire hazard in their own homes. We leave the fire place burning all night, with very flammable socks hanging from it. We cut down a real tree, made out of wood, and place wires all over it that heat up easily with lights that also heat up easily and hang glass, plastic, and wooden ornaments on this tree to suffocate the wires and lights even more. Some people actually place candles around this same tree on Christmas eve! Talk about wanting a fire! And, if that’s not enough to cause one, we can now buy fake snow to place or spray on the tree to suffocate it more! If the tree was recent, it wouldn’t be as much of a problem, but it needs to be up at least 12 days BEFORE Christmas! That’s almost half a month with a dieing tree sitting in your house, with all of these flammable or heated objects all over it, and suffocating it to trap the heat on the tree! So, we are trying our hardest to set our houses on fire in the spirit of Christmas!

And, if that’s not enough for you, we must, simply MUST, buy as many useless objects as we can to give to as many people as possible to place under this tree! So now, you are required to place hundreds of dollars worth of highly flammable material under a tree that might as well be on fire already, and keep them there as long as possible. Now the rest of the decorations must be placed, also before the 12 days start. So, by December 12th, we have lights, fake snow, wooden and plastic decorations, and anything else you can come up with in the spirit of this holiday, getting ready to set you on fire or blow a fuse, and they still expect presents to be bought. I’m convinced that the only thing keeping the house and tree from catching fire for most people is the real snow outside that is keeping everything cooled off. I’m not sure what kind of magic is used everywhere else, but it must be some good stuff to stop this blaze.

Now, this is celebrated as a Christian holiday, but it seems to have gone a completely different route. Aside from the music that hasn’t changed much since before AD, the only thing even relating to Christians or Jesus Christ is the name, Christmas! Other than that, you have a fat man, sliding down a chimney, placing ANYTHING you want under a nearly dead tree, hoping not to knock anything over or catch it on fire in the middle of the night. He flies around the world, in one night, in the direction of the sun, in a giant sleigh that’s pulled by 8 reindeer, all male, with horns, which is opposite of their standard cycle. NONE of this has anything to do with the religion or the event of Christ’s birth. The only thing left is the spirit of giving, which has become the spirit of getting! I hate to be the one to break this to the Christians, but Christmas is no longer a Christian holiday. It is now a store holiday.

Think about it. This is now the holiday for buying stuff. You buy a tree, new decorations, presents, food, cards, everything you can get your hands on! The entire holiday is about buying as much as you, and everything but some of the decorations is either disposed or given away! You spend hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars, for basically nothing! What a great holiday, eh? If you own a store, of any kind, you’ve got it made this season.

In closing, I hope you all enjoy your X-Mas holiday, the X representing the amount of money you will spend before the month is out, and give a present to everyone you know, whether you like them or not, because it’s the only way you will feel good about getting a whole bunch of stuff for free, even though what you get isn’t worth what you bought. And eat some holiday ham for me, since no one cooks goose on this holiday like they used to.

Merry Giving Day, everyone!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Happy Hanukkah!

Well, as everyone who is Jewish has noticed, Hanukkah has come and gone. Some people may still be celebrating (I haven’t quite worked out which side the extra days are on yet) but the day itself was on the 5th. For those of you who don’t know what Hanukkah is about, here is a bit of an article from


The festival of Hanukkah (also spelled Chanukah) was established to commemorate the Jewish Maccabees' military victory over the Greek-Syrians and the rededication of the Second Temple, which had been desecrated by the Greek-Syrians, to the worship of God. Thus, Hanukkah is a celebration of Jewish national survival and religious freedom.

In commemoration of these miracles, a Hanukkah Menorah (also called a Hanukkiah) is lit during each of the eight nights of Hanukkah. Lighting the Hanukkah Menorah is the central observance of the festival. One candle is lit the first night, and an additional candle is lit each successive night. Thus, on the last night of Hanukkah, all eight candles of the Hanukkiah are lit. The candles should be lit by a window or door in order to fulfill the commandment to "publicize the miracle." While lighting the candles, blessings are recited and the ancient chant Hanerot Hallalu is traditionally sung. After lighting the candles, it is a tradition to sing Maoz Tzur.

Hanukkah is a fun festival, especially for children. After lighting the Hanukkah candles together, families (and often invited guests) will eat and play games. Traditional Hanukkah food is oil-rich in commemoration of the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days. Potato pancakes (Latkas in Yiddish, Livivot in Hebrew) are a Hanukkah favorite. Israelis eat Hanukkah doughnuts called soofganiot. Dreidel (sivovon in Hebrew) is a traditional Hanukkah game, with game rules so simple that the whole family, from toddlers to grandparents can play together. The custom of giving Hanukkah gelt (money) to children has evolved into a gift-giving tradition in many Jewish families today.


As you can see, the Jewish people celebrate a great deal of things on this festival of their’s. The only problem I have with it is the candles thing. Nowadays, with all of the stuff you can have in the house, leaving candles burn for many days can be a serious fire hazard. And, if you don’t need to worry about the fire spreading, what about it going out? Seven days is an awfully long time to have a candle burn. And if you solve the problem by getting long candles, then how do you deal with the major wax build up at the bottom? Seven days of burning one candle, the heat getting worse with each day that a new candle is lit? And you know it’s gotta be murder on the drapes when they put it in the window. I wonder how long it is left in the window after the last candle is lit…

Well, in any case, there is Hanukkah in a nutshell. I don’t quite understand it, but the Jewish people seem to like the holiday. Well… all except Lewis Black.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Welcome to December!

I have been saving all of my creative juices for this month, and it’s gonna be a whopper! Actually, I’ve just been lazy and needed an excuse, but it sounded pretty good, didn’t it?

This month, I am going to be trying to post every article in this blog about Christmas, Hanukkah, any other holidays I know about, and the Holiday Season in general. Since, as far as I know, we are no where near any of the holidays in this season, let’s start with the season in general.

First of all, why is it called the Holiday Season? The season is Winter. We established this long before any of these holidays were thought up. The weather and calendar may not agree, but we are in Winter here in the States, so we should not be in any other season. It can’t be any other kind of Season. It’s not like Elmer Fudd is off in the woods wearing his big brown hat going “Be vewy vewy quiet. We’a wookin’ for howidays! Huhuhuhuhu!” Nobody is hunting it down and we are in either Winter or Autumn, depending on weather and calendar. So I see no reason to call it the Holiday Season.

However, since there are many definitions of Season, and we are adding more every time the occasion arises, it seems we must conclude that this is a season for Holidays. Why? Because the government refuses to acknowledge any specific holiday. The stores, on the other hand, they got plenty of guts to pick a holiday. Which one do they pick? Do they pick Kwanzaa? Nah, they might look racist. Do they pick Hanukkah? Never! That supports rebellion over a tyrannous ruler, which was basically struggling and war and all of the things the stores don’t want people to know about until it’s time for charities. So, which one did they pick? Christmas! Of course! It may be religious, unlike Kwanzaa, and it is only two days out of the month, unlike Hanukkah, but there is no limit on the presents! You can buy as many as you want!

The stores have found the mother load, and it is brought once a year by a fat man in a red coat that practically screams “I’M ON SALE!” They have all sorts of gifts for people to buy on Christmas. Do you know why? Because a Christmas gift can be ANYTHING! You could buy a tiny piece of plastic dog crap, wrap it up - you don’t even need a box - and place it under the tree for the unsuspecting person you are giving it to on this wonderful holiday. If it can be held, it can be a gift. If it can’t be held, it can be in the spirit of Christmas. If anything good happens, it’s a Christmas miracle, and it was all Santa’s doing. Still wonder why the stores picked this holiday?

What I noticed, though, is that, the stores may celebrate Christmas, for recently mentioned obvious reasons, but they never really mention it. More and more, the fat man is shown, the red and green lights are strewn about, but the word Christmas is rarely shown anymore. It was X-mas, as though they had forgotten how to spell Christ, but that was a poor attempt to remove the religion from it to get more customers other than Christians to buy stuff for the occasion. But now, they stopped saying Christmas as often as they can get away with it. They have started to fall into the void of the Holiday Season. It is still Christmas they are celebrating (Black Friday has nothing to do with Kwanzaa, you don’t see any Hanukkah bushes lying around) but they call it the Holiday season, just to please the locals.

If you ask me, I’ve never shopped for Winter unless I was getting a coat, and I’ve never shot Christmas unless you include a few strange games online. The Holiday Season, is Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Let’s leave it at that and let everyone celebrate their own holiday.