Are the Holidays Going Out of Style?

Savannah Andrews, Chief Editor

 America especially is not very all-inclusive with holiday celebrations, but seem to celebrate and give time off for school and work for “white holidays,” the big three being Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, this being considered the holiday season, they are not celebrated only in the U.S. though but some big holidays for other people such as well known holidays like Hanukkah people who regularly celebrated it are not given time off to celebrate it. Recently a point is trying to be made to be more all-inclusive toward others who celebrate holidays celebrated in other parts of the world. In the article “Iowa City Schools to take days off for Muslim and Jewish holidays, following student-led campaign” written by Mary Green to sum it up the Iowa City school district decided in an order to be more inclusive the entire school will take the days off for Eid al-Fitr a Muslim holy day, and Yom Kippur a Jewish holy day. These are still not widely known or celebrated holidays in the U.S. but it is a change from the most common holidays in the Iowa city school. 

Many Parts of holiday traditions have changed throughout the years into what we know today, but many parts of those traditions started out much different. Most holidays, in general, originated with important religious dates and built off of that introducing many traditions that evolved into what they are now. The origin of many popular holidays helps to point out what it actually is that is celebrated, and sometimes reveals a problematic background that most people would not want to be a part of.

Halloween originated in Ireland all the way back in the fifth century B.C. occurring every October 31st. The town would collectively put out fires in all their own hearths to give the house a dead appearance, they would then gather in the middle of town around a big bonfire. It was believed that on October 31, in the book Panati’s Extraordinary origins of everyday things by Charles Panati states “all persons who died in the previous year assembled to choose the body of the person or animal they would inhabit for the next twelve months before they could pass peacefully into the afterlife.” Dressing up in costumes is a big part of Halloween, but originally this had been a practice to wear a costume to try and scare off the spirits around them. Villagers were sacrificed if they were thought to act like they were possessed, human sacrifices were finally outlawed in 61 A.D. and were replaced with effigies (a sculpture of a person). “ Halloween customs originated as a means of frightening away spirits eager to possess the living, The earliest American mischief night pranks: overturning outhouses and unhinging front gates,” says the book by Panati. Now this holiday has transformed into a time for kids to go door to door for candy

Thanksgiving started in 1621 in Plymouth Massachusetts, this year this celebration lands on Thursday, Nov 25, 2021, landing every year on the last Thursday in the month of November. This historic holiday started with the pilgrims sailing on the mayflower and landing at Plymouth on December 11, 1620. Their journey was long and dangerous, and the weather 

Even though Black Friday is not a Holiday it is still something closely involved with the holiday season. This year it will be on Friday, November 26, 2021, but why did we start this tradition? Most people think The term Black Friday comes from the profit the stores make on that day, accountants show in their books negative numbers or their losses in red ink, and they mark profit in black, on Black Friday it was considered to be the biggest day for black ink in those books, but that is only what we were told, this story was made up. In reality, the term according to the article ‘Why is it called ‘Black Friday’?’ was made up by “bus drivers and police officers who used the term “Black Friday” to describe the heavy traffic that would clog city streets the day after Thanksgiving as shoppers headed to the stores”, the day between Thanksgiving, and Army-Navy Game (a football game between the Army black knights vs. the Navy midshipmen in Philadelphia). It was tried to change the name to “Big Friday,” but that name never caught on. Because the game was in Philadelphia Black Friday started there in the 1950s when the shops around that area promoted sales before the big event on Saturday (Army-Navy game), this tradition caught on and spread around. This tradition doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, every year stores come back with big sales that most people can’t resist.

Christmas originated back in Rome in 337 A.D. and this holiday has been celebrated every year on December 25. Christmas was created a long time ago, and has changed over time into the many traditions followed today, “Christmas is an amalgam of the traditions from a half-dozen cultures, accumulated over centuries,” says the book by Panati. The day of Christmas was based on the birth of Jesus but finding the right time was slow going. For about two centuries after he was born no one cared about his birth because birthdays weren’t considered important, but death days were so his death was the only thing being celebrated. A time in January-May was thought to be around the time of his birth, but because of Mithraism (another religion) being big and one of their celebrations was to celebrate the birthday of Mithras the sun god which landed on the day of December 25, they wanted to compete with this religion, so they put their big celebration on the same day. Later it became very important to celebrate not only Jesus’ death but also his birth. Christmas now is less of a celebration of his birth but more of a celebration full of gifts given to family members and friends. 

With the era of cancel culture (getting rid of something, a way of showing disapproval for something through social pressure) most of these celebrations are considered to be canceled by the internet, this is partially from the backgrounds of these holidays coming to light for some people maybe they celebrate other holidays not recognized on American calendars. It helps anyone to deepen their thinking on why holidays are important and celebrated by a majority of people. Are holidays worth it with the work being put into them?