While you may be making plans for the major holidays you regularly celebrate, there is one you may have overlooked: Christmas. Festivus, a holiday for “the rest of us,” occurs annually on December 23, making it a significant day for “Seinfeld” fans.
Frank Costanza established the holiday in the ninth season of the hit ’90s comedy as a way to avoid the commercialism of Christmas and have a reason to be grumpy and ungrateful instead.
In the Festivus episode, “The Strike,” Costanza, voiced by the late Jerry Stiller, provides some classic animated rants and unvarnished criticism. Fans of the show still observe the holiday by sharing memes on social media or holding their own parties in which they observe comedic customs like the airing of grievances and the Festivus pole.
History Of Festivus
An episode of “Seinfeld” was responsible for introducing the Festivus holiday to the rest of the globe. In 1966, TV Writer Dan O’Keefe’s father, also named Daniel O’Keefe, discovered a reference to a little-known festival and started celebrating it. He was conducting research for his book “Stolen Lightning” at the time, which was an examination of astrology, cults, and paranormal phenomena. It was the anniversary of his first date with his wife, so he decided to celebrate it on December 23, which he chose as the date for the event.
George Castanza is the one who hosts the Festivus celebration in the episode of “Seinfeld” that aired in 1997 and was titled “The Strike.” Frank, George’s father, came up with the idea for the holiday, and the family observed it all throughout George’s upbringing.
Festivus was celebrated with a pole made of aluminium in its place of a Christmas tree or a menorah. They would have a supper with meatloaf as the main course, and then following, they would participate in traditions such as “Feats of Strength” and “Airing of Grievances.” In the second scenario, participants are given the opportunity to discuss the aspects of the previous year’s gifts that did not meet their expectations.
The success of the show and the motto “A Festivus for the rest of us” led to the holiday taking on a life of its own after the show ended. People were moved by the message that everyone should feel welcome, as well as the absurdity of the situation, and they developed their own traditions as a result. In 2004, Dan admitted that the actual custom was far more bizarre than it was portrayed on the show. Even though there was no pole, people were still able to vent their frustrations and have them recorded on a tape recorder.
In the year 2009, Dan O’Keefe provided more commentary on the well-known catchphrase. The motto of our family’s Festivus celebration was “A Festivus for the rest of us.” After his maternal grandmother passed away, it took on the uplifting meaning of looking forward to the future and serving as a gentle reminder to appreciate life and the those who are still alive.
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How To Celebrate Festivus
Act out the rituals you learned about on the show.
Festivus customs in “Seinfeld” are hilarious. Make an aluminium pole and put it in the centre of the table as you dine on meatloaf on a bed of lettuce. Compete in a friendly (arm) wrestling match to demonstrate your strength and voice your frustrations in a lighthearted manner. No one is obligated to play any of these games if they don’t want to, so long as you have other things to do.
Create your own rituals.
One of Festivus’s greatest strengths is that it does not adhere to any one set of customs. What this means is that you’re free to observe the holiday in any way that suits you. Make whatever you like instead of meatloaf and share some laughs instead of gripes. At Festivus, we celebrate all sorts of absurd customs.
The Seinfeld Marathon
It is appropriate to pay tribute to “Seinfeld” as the show is largely responsible for the program’s enormous success. Watch a bunch of “Seinfeld” episodes with your loved ones and be sure to include the Festivus episode. You will likely spend days thereafter quoting the characters.
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What are the rules of Festivus?
Festivus is particularly unique among holidays because it shares few traditions with other winter celebrations. Festivus is more of a day for competition and griping than it is for celebrating warmth and community. Some of the rites are described below in more detail.
Complaints being voiced
Frank Costanza explains that during the Festivus dinner, the family gets together to share the ways in which each member has let them down over the past year.
Proud physical accomplishments
Tests of strength and stamina to determine who is the best of the best.
A Festivus pole
Instead of putting up a Christmas tree, they put up an aluminium pole with no ornaments.
Although Festivus did not become widely recognised until the late ’90s, when this episode of ‘Seinfeld’ aired, the holiday’s genuine origins may be traced back far further in time.
According to an article published in 2013 by Mother Jones, the father of “Seinfeld” creator Dan O’Keefe created Festivus when Dan was around eight years old, replete with the airing of grievances and the feats of strength (though the pole was added for the show).
If you don’t have a family holiday to celebrate on December 23, Festivus is the next best thing. The goal is reasonable despite the seeming contradiction. When those around them are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, those who don’t share these traditions may feel left out. Many individuals appreciate having a secular, not religious festival to celebrate. Everyone is welcome at Festivus.