Historically: Probably originates from the feast of Lupercal, a Greek fertility festival. Swapping Valentines didn't really catch on until the Victorians.
How do we celebrate: By buying more greeting cards than on any other holiday, little kids exchanging candy, drinking alone in shame or ignoring it entirely.
St. Patrick’s Day
Historically: Catholic Religious holiday. Wasn’t even a bank holiday in Ireland until 1903.
How do we celebrate: Get drunk on green beer or ignore it entirely hoping that this will finally be the year that we go the entire day without our brain spontaneously chanting “We’re Here! We’re queer! We’re IRISH! Get used to it!”*
April Fools Day
Historically: The purpose of the holiday was to fuck with people who used the wrong calendar
How do we celebrate: Rubberband your favorite coworker’s chair to his/her desk, disbelieve news stories or ignore it entirely.
Historically: Cultural Holiday started in 1912 to celebrate mothers
How do we celebrate: Call Mom and/or take her to lunch. Really good kids buy presents. Bad kids ignore it entirely.
See above, more or less
4th of July
Historically: Patriotic speeches, parades, picnics. Has been celebrated in some form or another since colonial times, but has only been a federal holiday since 1931
How do we celebrate: Patriotic speeches, parades, picnics. Public drunkenness and the occasional fireworks injury. A very hard holiday to ignore entirely, at least in my hometown.
Historically: Celtic harvest festival and the day before All Saints Day
How do we celebrate: Give candy to kids, get drunk in costume or ignore it entirely
Historically: Technically started with the Spanish having a mass to celebrate having arrived in Florida safely, but most people focus on some crap about the Pilgrims that mostly isn’t true. Wasn’t celebrated on the third Thursday in November until 1940.
How do we celebrate: Turkey, football, watching the Macy's parade and trying to explain the whole “Smallpox-infected blankets” thing to kids.
Historically: Started in 1966 as an African-American cultural holiday.
How do we celebrate: Light candles, read African poetry, have a feast or ignore it entirely.
As far as I can see, almost all American cultural holidays are about:
2. Getting wasted
3. Pandering to little kids
4. Hanging out with your family and/or friends.
5. Smatterings of ritual here and there
6. Ignoring said holiday.
in some combination or another. The American cultural holidays that even existed 100 years ago weren't celebrated at all the same ways with the possible exception of Independence day and maybe Thanksgiving.
As far as I can tell, Kwanzaa is about all of the above excepting possibly getting wasted.
In this context, how the hell is Kwanzaa any phonier than MOST of America's cultural holidays?
who has no plans to celebrate Kwanzaa now or ever, but geez...
*Oh Crud, now it's in my head.