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Memories of the 28th Century

Holidays

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I suppose that there are reasons for holidays existing, but they canít be very good reasons, because holidays mostly just get in the way, and yesterday I heard someone ask why Columbus Day was a holiday. If thatís the kind of respect that Columbus gets these days, then he probably would agree that there should not be a holiday for him, even though thatís one of better reasons for a holiday.

If we go back to the beginning, I donít think that anyone has determined whether demand for a day off or demand for a day to honor old so-and-so was the original reason for holidays. Looking around the internet it appears that no one has any better idea, so I will opine that the first holidays were the quarter days, equinoxes and Solstices, and those celebrations probably started a very long time ago, perhaps as long ago as when the first burials that included decorative items. But it could be that humans started the custom of taking a day off now and then even more than a million years ago (thatís another thing to be checked on when I get the time machine running).

Just the need to take some time off is an adequate reason for taking a day off, and that probably is why weeks developed, but they made a mistake trying to adapt them to the lunar cycle. It would be better to have five of six day weeks and retain two day weekends. The six day week is probably the best idea, because that would also provide an excuse for getting rid of holidays; there would be no real change in the number of days off, and the weeks would be more uniform without holidays blowing holes in things. And the six day week would provide the extra advantage of making it possible to know the date of every day, because we would also have five intercalendral days that would not appear on calendars, so each date would be the same day of the week every month.

Another good reason for getting rid of holidays would be that various political and religious organizations wouldnít get a legal boost, because there wouldnít be a holiday for some religious or political reason. If people want to celebrate their religious mythologies, then let them, but donít make me take their day off. And getting rid of civil holidays would eliminate that oddity of Independence Day being celebrated on the fourth of July, when the U.S.A. declared itself independent on the second of July (the fourth was when the printed copies got back from the printer).

Columbus Day will be the day after tomorrow, and, if nothing else, it will give me an opportunity to think about all of the historical reasons for it being a holiday and about the other people who sailed from Europe to America in early times but didnít publicize their secret fishing grounds, certainly the Basques, but Portuguese also. We certainly donít need holidays for all of the early invaders, all those bands of Siberians and whoever, the boatloads of Africans, and the lost Roman soldiers who inspired Salomon Spalding. Let their friends, supporters, or whoever celebrate days for them, and I will celebrate days for what I wish to celebrate. Or as they say, whatís Sol Invictus to some is Mithraís Rebirth to others. Let the different persuasions celebrate their own days without inflicting those on others. If you have a favorite holiday, then you probably should keep it to yourself, so that others donít exploit it commercially, as happened to those Christians.
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Comments

  1. hannah_arendt's Avatar
    Columbus Day is very controversial in South America. I think that it`s exageration because it happened in the distant past. However, I don`t think that this day mean anything nowadays. Invaders were in every country. I don`t think that anybody can say: "I`m in 100% British" for example.
  2. PeterL's Avatar
    I chose not to go into it, but the "controversy is one of the reasons why it is down-played in the U.S.A> in recent times.

    Everyone is descended from invaders and from the conquered. Let's get over it.