Monday, February 15, 2010

Some holidays are about exclusion

Labor Day, Memorial Day and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day aren't exclusive, but other holidays do seem a bit exclusionary at times. 

Life is, of course, what you make of it. 

When is something a genuine celebration?  To celebrate, do we sometimes have to define what we are, and what we are not? 

Take the recent Valentine's Day holiday.  I stopped liking V day back when I stopped getting holly hobby or wonder woman valentines in Elementary School. 

Back then, it was all about giving valentine's to one's friends, and eating chocolate, cupcakes and sugar cookies with pink frosting. That describes a holiday I can wholeheartedly support.

The older I got, however, the day seemed to be more about whether or not I was in a relationship - and if I was, what kind of gift my significant other got me. 

In discussing Valentine's traditions with friends over the years, it seemed as if only 5 to 10 percent were really happy with the day and the celebration.  Otherwise it was simply another measuring stick that a person or relationship didn't live up to.  Lots of unspoken expectations and assumptions.  Some of the traditions can be expensive (pricey jewelry anyone)?

But some people really love this holiday - and love honoring their significant others.  They are really happy in their relationships.  And I can't fault anyone for that.

Isn't that the point of some holidays?  To remind us of things we take for granted? To experience togethernesss with those we love?  Or to take the doldrums out of everyday living?

In the end, if people enjoy valentine's day and enjoy doing nice things for their significant other(s) - I think that's great.  And I also like the outreach of valentine's day beyond romantic relationships - giving gifts or candy for children or friends. 

But I still think there are some holidays that seem to focus on the haves vs. the have nots.  They focus on people who choose to celebrate, and those who don't.  Or they're just another way to spend money, to prop up the American economy.

1 comment:

Freckle Face Girl said...

Valentines day can be stressful or depressing. I think I hated it during my 20s. I didn't mind it while I was married. Funny but this year (being newly divorced), I kind of liked it. I had dinner with a friend that has never been married. It was like going back to the early days when we celebrated with little cards & candy for friends. :)