Where Do Holidays Come From? // Megan MacKay

Where Do Holidays Come From? // Megan MacKay


– Every day I log onto Twitter it seems like there’s a new
national holiday trending. On Wednesday, it was
National Grilled Cheese Day, on Thursday we celebrated National Thomas Jefferson Day, yikes, and today, Friday, April 14th
we have the perfect storm. It’s National Dolphin Day,
National Ex-Spouse Day, National Pecan Day, and Pan-American Day, and National Reach as High as You Can Day. And if you don’t celebrate
those all at once, I’m sorry to say, you’re
probably a complete failure. And your dad is probably
very disappointed in you . Which brings me to my main question, what the (bleep) is going on? I get most of our big holidays, like Arbor Day, trees, got it. But can a bitch not just
have a boring Tuesday without being accosted for hashtags for National Hug a Plumber Day? Today on I Learned a Thing,
where do holidays come from? Historically speaking, some
of our favorite holidays happened because Christianity wanted more people to get down with Jesus. In the early days, Christianity
was a very urban thing, concentrated in more
densely populated areas. As soon as you got out of the city though, religion was extremely regional, varying widely across
different geographical areas. Some experts suggest that the church was fascinated by rural religious practices, and it wanted to incorporate
them into Christianity. Other sources are just a
little more pointed about it, suggesting that the church
was simply ambitious and wanted more control and power. Either way, this relationship between Christianity and Paganism
birthed modern Christmas. December was a really big
time for Pagan celebrations, including most famously
solstice celebrations and the Saturnalia. And so Christianity decided
to make Jesus’s birthday happen around that time too. Easter, which also happens
to be this weekend, was also formulated the exact same way. And that’s our standard
formula for holiday creation. Take a major instance of
cultural appropriation, brine it in strict religion
for several centuries, and maybe get an Xbox out of it. And then you have these new holidays that nobody seemed to celebrate before the advent of social media. Like National Chicken Boy Day and National Accordion Awareness Month. If you’re like me, you probably
have the same first thought, capitalism did this. America’s corporations
have gone power mad, deciding that our calendars,
the very concept of time itself is theirs for the taking. And well yeah, you’d be right. Some of these holidays
were created by businesses with a very specific goal in mind. You may hear people
referring to these holidays as Hallmark holidays, for obvious reasons. Secretaries Day for example, was created by the National Secretaries
Association in 1952. In an effort to fill
major workplace shortages in the post-World War business boom. Some holidays began
totally altruistically, but morphed into capitalistic ventures. Mother’s Day was not
created to sell flowers. Anna Jarvis, the creator of Mother’s Day wanted to memorialize her own mother but then the holiday caught on. She spent most of her life
fighting corporate America and their efforts to turn the holiday into a flower and cards sales-stravaganza. But what business is backing
Accordion Awareness Month? Is big accordion out there
trying to convince John Mayer to try a new sound on his next album? This brings us to our last and most disappointing
holiday inception story, which is simply this, sometimes
people make weird (bleep) up Accordion Awareness Month was created by Italian accordionist
Tom Torriglia in 1989. When asked about the holiday, Torriglia simply explained, that quote, “It was established as simply
as me deciding it would exist” John Bryan Hopkins,
founder of foodimentary.com took it upon himself to make sure there was a food related holiday to celebrate every day of the year. With many of his picks getting picked up and legitimized by outside sources. For example, Hopkins created
National Onion Ring Day, now an official holiday supported by the National Onion Association. Sometimes Hopkins even changes
his designated holidays based on his own personal whims. Explaining, quote, “I might
wake up a little groggy “one morning and decided that I don’t like “what’s being celebrated that
day, so I make it a new one.” So there you have it, that hashtag holiday you’re
celebrating on Twitter is likely just one big, indulgence of one single man’s cravings and whims. When you celebrate these holidays, you’re actually allowing
randos like John Bryan Hopkins to puppeteer your life
for no damn reason at all. Onion ring anyone? That’s all for today’s video. If you liked it click subscribe. I make a new one every single week. You can also find a playlist
with more I Learned a Thing right here in the bottom left
hand corner of your screen, and as always today’s
random end card fact. The Mona Lisa has the
highest insurance value of any painting in history. In 1962 she was assessed
at 100 million US dollars. Which would be nearly 800
million US dollars today, or a billion US dollars
if she still had eyebrows.

7 thoughts on “Where Do Holidays Come From? // Megan MacKay

  1. Don't forget 'crazy' women making up holidays too. Mother's Day is stupid, remember it's YOU that made your mom a mother, demand gifts this year

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