Wednesday, March 17, 2021
7 Useless Holidays… and 3 important ones
Welcome to another edition of cultural appropriation, Irish Style. Today is St. Patrick’s Day and even though we are in the middle of a pandemic, warm green beer will be served all around the world in honor of Jesus saving the Irish from the Joker and Mr. Freeze. Some call me a party pooper, which is not true because I love a good party. What I do not like are meaningless holidays and fake celebrations. I want to start off by saying that I am not attacking any religion or group here. I am quite aware of the cultural and religious significance of many of these days on the calendar so please do not flood my DMs with Wikipedia links. What I will knock is what these holidays have become. So put some Bailey’s in that coffee, I know I have, and hold on tight.
I am fairly certain that Jesus did not die and resurrect so we could pretend bunnies laid eggs. I am also certain that the mass amount of chocolate consumed on this holiday is terrible for the environment, the workers picking the cocoa beans, and the little children gorging on it. True believers know the significance of this day. Easter rivals Christmas in terms of its ranking on the Biblical calendar. Growing up Portuguese, my grandma would essentially live in the church that whole week. For me, it was simply a 4-day weekend thanks to Good Friday and Easter Monday and of course, an excuse to eat candy. What Easter truly means to me is a chance to see the extended family and enjoy our time together. Sadly, not this year, damn Covid, but next year, I hope.
When you really think about it, what is this day? Isn’t it kind of bizarre? Children get dressed up in costumes. Walk around the streets. An adult hands them candy to eat. Creepy. I specifically remember being told not to take candy from strangers when I was a kid. All of a sudden it is okay because I am dressed like a hobo, ie. cultural appropriation of the poor. Me dressing like a hobo as a kid was funny because I simply wore my normal clothes and smudged dirt on my face. As an adult, it gets even weirder. We now get drunk, try to dress as something funny or provocative, yet no candy. I am always confused about how wearing a bikini with cat ears and painted on whiskers makes someone a kitten. Some things are just a mystery. Every year costume stores churn out a mass amount of disposable, cheaply made junk that ends up in a landfill or the ocean. That Batman mask is choking a dolphin right now.
This one was always a funny one to me. I don’t want to get too deep into the historical aspect of this holiday, as that can be a whole post on its own. Let’s just say it is not pretty. What I will say is honoring that nasty history is probably not the best idea. That being said, I am all for everyone having a day off. Furthermore, I am all for visiting with family to celebrate the day off. Further, furthermore, I am all for that day being filled with football and turkey. Sadly, here in Canada, we have OUR football on that day, which is not enjoyable. American Thanksgiving however is filled with 3 stellar NFL games, including one played by the greatest team to ever dawn a uniform, the Dallas Cowboys. I am always puzzled why turkey is such a big thing on this day. It is synonymous with fall, and thanksgiving. Turkey is delicious always, why is it relegated to the fall season. Another mystery, I guess.
Boxing Day/Black Friday
Let’s just say these are 2 holidays that I NEVER celebrate. What better way to celebrate the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ being born than the day after his birthday we punch old ladies in the face to get a flat-screen TV. I feel the love. Even better is that there is no more Boxing Day. Nope, one day is not enough. Welcome to BOXING WEEK!!! Can you feel the biblical love? Similar to Boxing Day is the American dumpster fire that has made its way north of the 49th parallel, Black Friday! Yes, we celebrate the aforementioned historical nightmare of Thanksgiving by taking our turkey bloated bodies to Wal-Mart to stock up useless junk we don’t need. But let’s not stop there. One day is not enough, we need another day to sit at home and shop online for more junk. Yes, kids, Cyber Monday is a special day where managers around North America must tell their employees to get back to work while they shop online for deals. Now, I love a made-up holiday as much as the next guy, but even better than a made-up holiday is one made up for no reason at all other than shoving consumer items down our throats. Beautiful.
Speaking of made-up holidays, here is the granddaddy of them all. Yes, folks, Valentine’s Day is a special day where young couples can waste money that they don’t have to make sure they stay together, older couples who hate each other can buy overpriced jewelry to keep the show going another year, and single people can drink wine and watch puke fest taking place on social media. Nothing says a happy-healthy relationship like making sure everyone you know is aware of it. Even better is the fact that dinner at a restaurant is now overpriced, flowers are now $200 for a bouquet, and those chocolate-covered strawberries that cost $6 to make are $30. My heart flutters with love. Cupid took aim with that mighty arrow and shot it right through my wallet. Well, not me. I refuse to take part in this day and will not ever out of sheer spite. Yes spite.
I stopped liking Christmas early on. I have been called a grinch numerous times. I don’t really see it as an insult though. He lived up in a mountain, how cool is that. He has a dog that could pull a massive sled and did whatever he wanted, awesome stuff. The guy could also slide around without making a noise, which is right up there with invisibility as a superpower. Despite being a miserable grouch, everyone in the town loved him! Sounds like he owned Who-Ville. My main beef with Christmas is 2-fold. I feel it puts unnecessary financial pressure on people. There is ALWAYS an uptick of consumer debt after the holiday season and this hurts people big time. It also puts undue pressure on people emotionally. People feel depressed, lonely, stressed out, anxious, tired, drunk, and many other things that aren’t good for us. It is a lot to handle. What I think Christmas should be, and is for many people, is a time to be thankful for the ones you love and also be thankful for the blessings you have. The commercialization of the day I can do without.
Birthdays are a great time to reflect on where you have been, where you are going to go and think about what matters most to you. They are also a great time to be overburdened with fake praise and questions about what amazing thing you will be doing to celebrate this unique day that happens every year. Yes, let’s go to a restaurant and have the whole damn place stare at me while they sing that silly birthday song that kills their souls slowly every time they have to do it. Yes, it really kills their soul so don’t ask for the birthday song. It also puts undue pressure on spouses to come up with a gift idea. We are GROWN-UPS, everything I need I get. I have no time or inclination to rack my brain on what to get someone for their birthday. Cash baby. CASH is what you get. I would prefer to put it in a rubber band, but I will splurge and buy a card. Cash, flowers, and a home-cooked meal. If that ain’t good enough, so sorry. Oh yeah and do away with Birthday Weeks. It is pronounced Birth-Day, not Birth-Week. Hate to tell you, Brittany, you aren’t that special. No one is. Even Jesus only got 2 days.
Holidays that ARE important (in no particular order)
I think any day we celebrate the freedom we have because brave men and women fought for it, is a great day. So much is lost with time and history is forgotten. Well, it shouldn’t be. While we complain about wearing masks and staying inside, there are 95-year-olds who can’t see their loved ones right now, who put on a Gas Mask and stormed into machine-gun fire so the free world wouldn’t be taken over by tyranny. Never forget that. Ever. Our veterans are our pride and joy and should be honored. In Canada, Remembrance Day should be a National holiday, for everyone. To me, it is a disgrace that it is not. Every year we lose more of our vets and we need to make sure they know how important they are to us as much as possible. We also need to make a special point of teaching the history of our vets so the tyranny they defended us from is not repeated.
If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is that the worker is a vital part of our society. Sadly, over the past 30 or so years, the worker has been tossed around like a piece of trash. Well, that should not be the case. Nothing exists without the worker. The whittling away of unions, stagnation of wages, and scarcity of quality work are all because the worker has become a commodity. This is troubling. I have been on both sides of it. For the majority of my working life, I was a worker, employed by a boss. During that time, I had many instances where my work was unappreciated, dismissed, and even taken from me. Now that I am self-employed, I aim to create an environment where this is not the case. I believe worker’s rights are fundamental to a thriving society and a day like Labor Day should highlight that. Everything we wear, eat, and own is because another human made it. That should be celebrated and yes, given a well-deserved day off to end the summer.
I love New Year’s. Like the lady in the bar said to Forrest Gump, “Don’t you just love New Year’s. You can start all over.” Yes, you can start all over. You can create new goals. Reflect on successes and failures. Learn from the year that passed and evaluate how it went. I love gauging the wins from the year that passed and attempt to create more in the year that is to come. It is the one day we all share, regardless of religious background, cultural differences, or place of origin. Everyone celebrates the coming of a new year and that to me is super cool. Thank you for reading my post, and I hope on your special days throughout the year, you use them to be happy, thankful and most of all, be around the ones you love. Now go enjoy your warm green beer.
Joseph James Francis is a Financial Advisor and Money Coach based in London, Ontario, Canada.
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