What is the meaning of Festivus and when is it?
(NEXSTAR) – Though it’s still a couple of days away, you may already be tired of Christmas. Or maybe you don’t celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or any of the other winter holidays this month. If so, December 23 is your day.
Welcome to Festivus, the holiday for “the rest of us.”
Not familiar with the holiday? Let us explain.
It all started with the ’90s sitcom “Seinfeld.” As explained in the 1997 episode “The Strike,” George Costanza’s father, played by the late Jerry Stiller, was not a fan of the commercialization or religious aspects of Christmas, so he created Festivus.
Instead of a Christmas tree, an aluminum pole is raised with no decorations — tinsel can be distracting, according to Mr. Costanza. There’s still a holiday meal, but instead of a turkey or ham, you enjoy a meal of meatloaf on a bed of lettuce (or at least something that appears to be meatloaf, as far as “Seinfeld” viewers could tell). You also “air your grievances” with your family, to share all the ways they have disappointed you over the last year.
And if that isn’t enough, there’s a portion of the holiday devoted to “feats of strength,” during which which the head of the family wrestles with another person in attendance. Festivus doesn’t end until the head of the family has been pinned, according to FestivusWeb.com, a website run by Mark Nelson, author of “Festivus The Book: A Complete Guide to the Holiday for the Rest of Us.”
“Seinfeld” writer Dan O’Keefe explained during a podcast with The Daily Beast that the idea behind Festivus comes from his father, who also created his own holiday.
While it is unclear just how many people celebrate Festivus, games, shirts and decorations for the holiday are apparently popular holiday items on Amazon. Many fans were already tweeting about the pseudo-holiday on Thursday, or Festivus Eve.
Last year, the official Twitter account for “Seinfeld” called on viewers to save a tree by celebrating Festivus. For every photo posted to the platform of a user’s Festivus pole, the account promised to plant a tree. Over 5,000 trees were saved, the account later confirmed.
This year, the folks behind the sitcom are calling on people to support a petition to make Festivus a national holiday. As of Thursday, more than 6,000 people had signed.
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