Monday, June 15, 2015

Holidays and Why they are Important

I had an argument with someone once, in regards to holidays. He felt they weren't important and a complete waste. I admit I agreed with several of his points. Yes most of it is commercial, the real meanings behind the holidays are lost and a rose on February 15th, is a lot cheaper than it was the day before, but just as nice and far more PRACTICAL! I completely agree. Where our agreement ended was the idea of doing away with holidays or rejecting new holidays or traditions.

There are some people who find completely random moments in time throughout the year, to decorate their home, put on their best outfit or costume, have a big meal with special treats, sing songs, give gifts or simply contact their loved ones, for no reason except they love them. That is a romantic view, however life is not always accommodating. Work, school and every day needs get in the way, it always has.
Not all individuals are disciplined enough to think of their loved ones in proper time frames, to make them feel appreciated. Taking people for granted has been a struggle our species has dealt with since we developed relationships. Then there is the struggles of life, whether it was a failed crop or debt, people need to take time out of our lives, to celebrate our own existence and those around us.

Holidays have give us a schedule of events and traditions spread out through the year. There are national holidays like any countries independence day, birthdays of leaders, holidays to honor the dead and the living. There are religious holidays only celebrated by those with some level of belief like Yule. Then there are cultural holidays, holidays that hold either a cultural or religious tradition that has become absorbed into society, example Christmas. Then there are personal holidays, like birthdays and anniversaries. All of theses traditions share one thing in common, it's suppose to be a moment in time to look forward too. It doesn't feed you, cure illness or make your problems go away. Instead, they give you something to look forward too. A change in the the monotony of every day.

Holidays provide different focus. Some help us remember things we take for granted like freedom, our parents, our spouse, which is why we have Veterans and Memorial day, Mother and Fathers Day, wedding anniversaries and birthdays. Others may focus on Family togetherness, which is why most nations have some kind of thanksgiving celebration, often around harvest time, when food was plentiful. Holidays effect our moods, how we dress and what we do or do not eat. They in their own right effect our very existence and how we cope with life.
First Memorial Day 1865

Often the problems I find people have with holidays are the commercialism, loss of meaning and their own monotony. These problems can be over come with some effort on your part.

Holidays are a time of big business, which is why there are all these advertisements to get you into the store to spend, spend, spend. Just because your neighbor has lights up in the winter or your kid wants some expensive toy doesn't mean you have to give into the hype. You may not have the extra money to be as giving or creative as you like or are expected or simply can't stand the pressure. Relax. Holidays don't have to be about who spends the most. It's not a contest, so don't turn it into one.

The loss of a holidays meaning could lead to new meaning. For example, you may have changed religions, but still see value in the holidays you grew up with. Rather than abandon the tradition, why not improve it and resurrect aspects the holiday posses that you value. If your personal life has changed to where you are alone, I encourage you to volunteer so that you may embrace another aspect holidays provide.

When a holiday has become monotonous, ask your, why do you still follow said holiday. If you can not come up with an acceptable reason, then you may want to drop that particular holiday, even for just for a time period. Find something new to focus your energy on. There can be such a thing as too much holiday. However, if you find the holiday isn't the problem, but what you for or during the celebration isn't holding your attention, then simply change it. It could be as simple as cooking something different, going to a different location or inviting others into your celebrations.

Remember holidays are there to bring you joy, make sure that is how you use them. You can master the holiday, not have the holiday master you.

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