Friday, January 13, 2012

How a holiday becomes a holiday

With the exception of holidays tied to supernatural events (Christmas) or cosmic events (various New Year's Days), holidays are created by people to commemorate significant events.

In the United States, some organizations will be celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which commemorates the birthday of King. (Well, sort of - in the United States, many holidays are actually held on Monday to allow three-day weekends.) The impetus for this holiday came from a variety of sources, including labor union contract negotiations, attempted legislation (PDF), a song, and political pressure from a sports league.

At one point, some people in Arizona were proposing to celebrate King Day by removing the celebration of Columbus Day. THAT holiday had been formally established decades earlier, via a campaign partly sponsored by the Catholic organization the Knights of Columbus, which originated in response to anti-Catholic sentiment from the Ku Klux Klan. So one can say that King's day and Columbus' day had a common ancestor of sorts.

Another person on the KKK's enemies list was former President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln's birthday was first celebrated in Buffalo, New York due to the efforts of druggist Julius Francis. Unlike King and Washington, however, Lincoln's birthday has never been a national holiday.

Now if you're a member of the KKK and don't know what to do with yourself on Monday, perhaps you can celebrated Hot & Spicy International Food Day. Then again, maybe not - that's pretty much the definition of an un-American day. Perhaps National Fig Newton Day? No, because that cookie was created by a company originally known as the Kennedy Biscuit Company, and all KKK members know that the Kennedys were a bunch of Catholic Commies. At the end of the day, I'm not sure what holidays a KKK member would celebrate...
blog comments powered by Disqus