I am an atheist and I love Easter. I am single and I love Valentine’s Day. Christmas? Oh your god, do I love Christmas. When it comes to commercialized holidays—you name it, I love it.
The meaning of holidays is lost in translation. Many people look for reasons behind our celebrations, all while missing the holiday’s true purpose—to celebrate life; to live in the moment.
Philosopher Joseph Pieper said that we celebrate holidays for the purpose of joy. “Where love rejoices, there is festivity,” he said. However, Pieper argued that festivities can’t be celebrated based on mere ideas—we need concrete purpose.
Holidays offer us a chance to take a break from everyday life and come together in celebration of life, goodwill and the ingenuities within culture. Holidays celebrate joy.
Many people have lost this. Many people require purpose.
Valentine’s Day is a scheduled…no, required day of romance. Single people often hate the day. Why? How could anyone hate a day that has pink candy hearts bearing Love’s bold message: “U R CUTE”?
Bring pink candy hearts by the thousands. Bury me in them.
Festivities are about simple pleasures, our pursuit of happiness. By focusing on why we celebrate, by requiring meaning, simple pleasures become complicated.
To top it off, many of the meanings we assign to holidays aren’t even accurate.
In the late 1990s, the term “War on Christmas” was coined after Nativity scenes and Christmas celebrations were banned in many schools. But modern “Christmas” is not an ancient holiday.
Jesus Christ was not born December 25. Historians believe early Christians celebrate his birth in April or May. December 25, a date selected in the early Middle Ages, was traditionally a pagan holiday and many of the holiday’s meaning and traditions are actually rooted in Paganism.
Last week, Sir Colin Humphreys, a scientist at the University of Cambridge, released research claiming that Jesus’ Last Supper did not take place on Maundy Thursday, but instead was held on the Wednesday before the crucifixion. According to Humphreys, Easter Day is on April 5. Even if Humphreys’ research proves true, the scheduling of egg hunts and chocolate bunnies probably won’t change. Easter Sunday will still be celebrated…on Easter Sunday.
What are we really celebrating? We live in a world where the meaning of many holidays has morphed across centuries. Instead of insisting that there be only one right way to celebrate, and instead of making the holiday exclusive to the religious or to only people in relationships, let’s just be happy.
This article was originally printed in The DePaulia’s staff column.