Holidays are … well, they’re amazing. These are days set up to honor people we don’t know, who did things we don’t remember, but drink to all the same.
As an American, I’m pretty happy with our standard holidays. Independence Day, Thanksgiving and Memorial Day are all solid, as are Christmas, Easter, and Hanukah.
I don’t even mind celebrations that make no logical sense, like Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day and New Year’s Day. If you think these celebrations make sense, you must be reading this on Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day or New Year’s Day. Sober up.
But America must be hurting for decent holidays when we recognize Boss’s Day (yes, we gave you a mug saying you’re the best, but we’re just patronizing you), Confederate Memorial Day (you lost – 148 years ago – so get over it), Talk Like a Pirate Day (more productive than Groundhog Day) and Father’s/Mother’s/Grandparent’s Day (if you want to honor people who raised you, act like you have some sense).
This is why I’m proposing the following useful holidays that will take the sting off days like Columbus Day (1. he didn’t discover America, and 2. he ordered a whole lot of native people killed just because) and President’s Day (yes to Washington, Lincoln, Kennedy and Reagan, no to Carter, Harrison, Wilson and LBJ).
Here are the top six holidays I think America should adopt because they’re generally awesome:
1. St. Urho Day: As legend goes, St. Urho, the patron saint of Finnish vineyard workers, protected prehistoric vineyards from invading hoards of gigantic grasshoppers by banishing the insects from the country. Finns everywhere dress in green and purple costumes on March 16 and get really drunk with the happy realization they’ll do it all again tomorrow on St. Patrick’s Day.
2. The Tinku Festival: Villagers in the Bolivian Andes take time out each May to honor the ancient Incan earth goddess Pachamama by beating the holy hell out of each other. Pachamama demanded a blood sacrifice to provide a good harvest, and since slicing open someone’s chest and removing the heart is now generally frowned upon, the villagers simply punch each other in the face. Great fun for the whole family.
3. La Tomatina: During the last Wednesday of August, up to 30,000 people in Buñol, Spain, pelt each other with tomatoes for an hour and a half for no apparent reason. Seriously. No one seems to know exactly why this festival started, which still makes more sense than Boss’s Day.
4. Beer Day: Iceland has a national drinking day the first day of March to honor the repeal of its 75-year ban on beer. The ENTIRE COUNTRY gets bombed. Cheers.
5. Nyepi Day. During the lunar new year (the first new moon after mid-March), the country of Bali observes a night of complete silence. No TV, no music, no talking. Given how loud Americans are, wouldn’t that be nice every once in a while? If we adopt Nyepi Day, I also propose it be the day after Beer Day.
There. Five new holidays America can look forward to. I can’t wait to see Hallmark’s Tinku Festival card.
Jason Offutt’s latest book, “Across a Corn-Swept Land: An Epic Beer Run through the Upper Midwest,” is available at amazon.com.