In 1962, President Kennedy had a special birthday celebration, including a rendition of HBDTY by Marilyn Monroe. I was quite young at the time (5) and have no clear recollection apart from watching newsreels and replays over the last 5 decades. Quite a celebration, but not enough to hit the national holiday list. Washington, on the other hand, did have a holiday dedicated to him, at least originally.
Monday the 16th is now referred to as President’s Day, but it used to be called Washington’s Birthday. Yesterday was Lincoln’s. Looking at the site http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/ lists hundreds of holidays of all sorts. Chase’s Calendar of Events 2015 is even more extensive, listing 12,500 events, holidays and special observances for the year. (I owned a copy of this book many years ago, having heard about it on the radio broadcast “Weekend Radio with Ronald Conrad” on WCLV.) Check it out at http://2015chasescalendarofevents.com/ and find out how you can celebrate “your special day” in many, many ways.
But, what I want to know, is who decides when we celebrate, what, and why? Until recently, we had 2 days set aside to presents, but the vast majority of victims were not deemed sufficient to take a day off for. Why not Millard Filmore, or Richard Nixon for example? We do MLK day but not Columbus day (at least here in Michigan). This year, Independence Day gets double the recognition, being observed (for time off of work) on Friday the 3rd as well as the (traditional) 4th of July.
WHY? (I have a rant about artificial holidays like grandparents and sweetest day, but that will wait for another post.) What or who decided the eleven “official holidays and non-working days” listed were the “correct” ones to celebrate? Why not something in March, April, and August (well, technically we might consider 4/15 to be a national holiday, a very somber event for some, no time off though) to balance out the work year? Christmas has some religious implications as well, but the government has seen fit to include it in (most) lists.
School calendars seem to use a different set of criteria as well. They take off days for many minor deities not in the official Washington pantheon of celebrants. Spring Break? Year End’s Period For Recharging? (These days most school kids spend more time at home in December than in school. When I was a kid, we got off early on the 24th and went back to school on January 2nd.)
Now, since my disability has taken me from the workforce, I am not as adversely affected by the holiday calendar, except when it expects me to purchase gifts for others (see future
rant blog for more details). When I try to schedule events with others of gainful employment age I am forced to ask when they are available. Wouldn’t want to offend someone by presuming or omitting a prearranged celebration for someone or thing in their culture.
I’m in favor of making National Ice Cream Day a long weekend…
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