Quick Facts

Every December 23rd
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Dan O'Keefe
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  1. Life & Living

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Everyone likes to enjoy the holidays in their own special ways, but one holiday stands out more than the rest. Festivus, a holiday that seems as a joke but in all reality is a popular holiday growing through the masses in the United States. Let’s dig deeper into the past to find the origins of this plain, yet popular holiday.

History of Festivus

Ironically, Festivus has a very odd and amusing start. It was conceived by author and editor Daniel O’Keefe and was celebrated as early back as 1966 by him and his family. But, how did Festivus become so popular if it was just a family tradition? To find that out, we must move forward in time to an episode of the famous television show Seinfeld.

While the holiday is extremely popular among people today, the first time Festivus was mentioned in American culture was in the episode of Seinfeld called “The Strike”, but there’s more to the name of Festivus than just a referenced television episode, right? Indeed there is, because the word “festive” is derived from the Latin word “Festivus”.

Sound familiar? It should. Festivus is an adjective meaning “excellent, jovial, and lively” which in turn derives from Festus, which means “joyous; holiday; feast day”. Plus, it brings one to think, maybe Festivus is to prove that we as humans don’t need material objects to be happy on a holiday, but all we really need is excellent company, jovial attitudes, and lively music to make the holidays the best we could have.

How To celebrate Festivus

Now, to celebrate Festivus it is actually quite simple to remember and even simpler to do. Festivus is celebrated as a holiday by those seeking to find an alternative to the commercialism and pressures that the Christmas holiday shopping can cause. While the holiday of Festivus is easy to celebrate and easily remembered how to celebrate, there are a few things we need for the holiday. In the episode of Seinfeld, they use an aluminum pole in place of a Christmas tree.

The O’Keefe family’s tradition was to put a clock in a bag and nail it to the wall. Next is the dinner, which usually just consists of turkey, or in some cases to match the colors of the Seinfeld episode, meatloaf on a bed of lettuce. Afterwards is the Airing of Grievances, where each person at the table stands up one at a time and tells the others what they dislike about them and then how the world has disappointed them that year.

Finally, comes the Feats of Strength which is celebrated immediately following the Festivus dinner, The head of the household selects one person at the Festivus celebration and challenges them to a wrestling match, and as Festivus tradition states, the Festivus holiday is not over until the head of the household is pinned by their opponent.