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Let's Make It A Holiday!

Let's Make It A Holiday!


          In the month of May we celebrate Mother’s Day and in the month of June we celebrate Father’s Day. For this generation it’s a given. But did you ever wonder how those holidays came into existence? Also, what about the new food holidays that have sprung up in the last decades? Who knew there was a cheesecake day? Should we resist these holidays and just stick with the ones we’re used to – or should we embrace all the new holidays and celebrate not only our parents and Santa Claus, but also our favorite foods? We all have to do what works for us, but doesn’t it seem like the world is a better place when we celebrate things (especially food!), instead of NOT celebrating them? If you have a soft spot for holidays, then you’ll definitely want a calendar jam packed with things to celebrate.

          Ok, so Father’s Day is in the books, as is Mother’s Day and no one can argue that this isn’t a great idea. We should celebrate our parents every day, but having a special day just for them is more than fair. We want to treat them to an amazing brunch, get them special gifts we know they’ll love, and generally make them feel extra special. This is a very good thing.

          The first Father’s Day was celebrated in the US in 1910, but it wasn’t made an official holiday until 1972! That’s 58 years after Mother’s Day was officially made a holiday. Mother’s Day got off the ground a lot easier and its origins date back to the Civil War. Because the nation was divided, a group of mothers wanted to bring people together as a form of reconciliation by celebrating what they had in common, motherhood. Because the casualties of the Civil War were so atrocious, many mothers did not want to ever see their country divided, with Americans murdering Americans. The sentiment makes so much sense. If only the violence of war had ended then.

          Mother’s Day caught on right away since so many of us are sentimental about our mom’s and taking them out for a great meal, buying them flowers and cards, or treating them to a day of pampering is a pleasure. Father’s Day took a little longer to catch on. Retailers didn’t see the commercial potential of pampering dad. And some dad’s poo-poo’d the idea of getting them gifts that they felt they were paying for anyway. But what about the widowers of the world and all the single dads out there – don’t they deserve recognition? Interestingly, it was a time of economic desperation, the Great Depression, in the 1930s that saw Father’s Day take off. Families at the time, with what little they had, wanted to celebrate both parents and all the sacrifices made by mom AND dad. It may not have been acknowledged as a government sanctioned holiday until 1972 but by WWII it was celebrated in almost every American home.

          It’s always interesting to discover how traditions began and why. But what about our modern food holidays – how did they take off? If you look at the calendar closely, there aren’t that many “serious” holidays in the United States. You know, holidays where it’s fine to not open for business and traveling is even more stressful than normal. Those are the biggies – Thanksgiving, Christmas, Memorial Day, Labor Day, etc. There are less than a dozen of those, ten to be exact. That’s less than 3% of our 365 allotted days of the year. And there really aren’t that many lesser holidays either, Columbus Day, Flag Day, you know, those days that you want to take off work, but you kind of feel guilty doing so. There are only 44 of those.

          The truth is that some of the holidays you can now google that fill the calendar started off as local or regional traditions. Some were also introduced by companies or organizations to create awareness. Maybe in your town the Mayor declared July 8 National Cheesecake Day (it’s not, it’s really National Chocolate with Almond Day – gotcha!), and so that tradition spread beyond your town and pretty soon everyone was celebrating. Will the government sanction it and officially observe it, probably not, that happens much more rarely, but retailers will! The more holidays that involve leaving your house (or shopping online) and just generally buying stuff, they are all for it! They will encourage it and they will promote it.

          And really at the end of the day is it such a bad thing? Yes, we are a society that loves to shop, but why not have a day that celebrates something for everyone. You may not like cheesecake, but you may love chocolate with almonds. Well there’s a day for you. And at the end of the day, we are all able to make our decisions and look after our own budgets. If you want to go all out on your favorite foodie holiday, that is your right. A right that was fought for by someone’s Father and someone’s Mother.

          Instead of rolling our eyes at the latest calendar event, let’s embrace it. Let’s embrace celebration. Let’s embrace coming together and having fun. So what’s your favorite holiday? We’d like to celebrate it too!