December 18, 2005

Answers to all your holiday questions

Q. I'm a Multiculturalist Pagan. I want to celebrate the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, at the exact same moment as all the indigenous peoples on Mother Earth. When will that moment occur?

A. Never. Unlike Christianity, pagan religions are local. This causes practical problems for politically correct American pagans who want to use the seasons of the sun to commemorate the unity of humanity under nature. Their problem is that nature treats humans very differently depending upon where they live. For example, while Dec. 21 is the shortest day for the Inuit (i.e. Eskimos), it's the longest day for Australian Aborigines. And for Mbuti pygmies living on the equator, it's just another day. In truth, Winter Solstice celebrations are (gasp) Eurocentric! Or, to be precise, "Nordocentric."

Q. My ethnic group's holiday isn't as popular as some other ethnic groups' days and that really gets my goat. Is there a way for it to be more popular?

A. Figure out how Americans could observe it by spending money doing something fun. For example, all the Irish bars in America will never let you forget that St. Patrick Day is when every American, no matter what your race, religion, or creed, is expected to get as drunk as an Irishman. Similarly, the Mexican restaurants and tequila companies have made Cinco de Mayo popular. Chinese New Year wanders around too much to catch on really big, but Chinese restaurants keep it going. In contrast, the Italians blew it by not establishing the custom of going to an Italian restaurant on Columbus Day (everybody likes Italian food!), thus leaving it vulnerable to attacks by the politically correct. Not being a fun holiday, Columbus Day has too few defenders to withstand the attacks of the humorless.

Now, the House of Representatives has voted 423-0 to ask President Bush to declare January to be "Jewish History Month." I think this would go over big if it becomes customary to observe Jewish History Month by going to Blockbuster and renting old Mel Brooks movies. Yet, I suspect Jewish History Month will turn out to be just as big a drag as all those dead-of-winter African-American "celebrations" -- Kwanzaa, Martin Luther King's Birthday, and Black History Month. We have three dozen days devoted to black people between Dec. 26 and February 28, and on not one of them is it considered appropriate to put on the Isley Brothers' version of "Shout."

Q. What were Washington's Birthday and Lincoln's Birthday like before they got compressed into President's Day?

A. I don't recall, but the always reliable Across Difficult Country blog has some vivid memories:

Merging the separate holidays made it impossible to celebrate either one, since the distinctive celebrations of each are incompatible. And what celebrations they were! I can still recall as a boy how on Washington’s Birthday everyone in town would wear powdered wigs, cherry pie was served, and we would all drink applejack. For Lincoln’s birthday, in contrast, the children would dress as slaves. We would all gather in the town square and there, the tallest of the boys, dressed as Lincoln in top hat and overcoat would read a proclamation ‘freeing us’. The adults would applaud and the children would dance. Suddenly, a boy dressed as a 19th century stage actor would appear and pretend to shoot the boy dressed as Lincoln in the back of the head. The crowd would fall into silence for precisely four-score and seven seconds. Then the adults would applaud and the children would dance, and we would all drink applejack.

I predict that in the future there will be only one holiday, a combination of all existing and all possible holidays. This day will be called “Holiday”, and on this day everyone will stay home from work and watch television.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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