Festivus may be the only holiday spawned by a television show. Although Festivus started off as a premise for a Seinfeld episode, it has become a phenomenon of its own. The show ended over 12 years ago, yet one of its most popular episodes has gotten bigger and bigger over the years. TV columnists like to constantly say that there has been a Seinfeld curse over the actors since the series ended. But no one told that to Festivus, as it is pretty much a national holiday in of itself now.
In 1997, a tradition was introduced to the television world, and later to the world at large. However, it had already been celebrated for 30 years, in the home of Dan O’Keefe. Since his son, Daniel, became a writer for Seinfeld, he decided to honor this tradition on television.
On December 23, Festivus is held as a way to vent out the frustrations of the holidays, and of everything else in between. Daniel O’Keefe let the Costanza family take the credit in the Seinfeld universe, as they adapted the O’Keefe family traditions for their own celebrations – and venting.
As all Seinfeld viewers know, the day is symbolized by an aluminum pole, an alcohol free dinner, wrestling, and the Airing of Grievances. By this time in the regular holidays, there are undoubtedly a few new things that people have to grieve about.
When Festivus was first introduced to the nation, it was during a simpler time, when TV shows couldn’t be watched on the Internet or on cell phones. Since Seinfeld was the top rated comedy in the land, a lot of viewers saw the birth of this new holiday, and later adapted it for their own.
In the years since the episode aired, countless people and Seinfeld fans have honored this holiday, as a way to balance out Christmas commercialism and stress. In fact, it may be the leading secular holiday of the season – which makes it shocking that it hasn’t been accused of further the War on Christmas.
Showing feats of strength, airing grievances, and being frustrated about the regular holidays have always been seasonal hallmarks. The only real difference between Festivus and Christmas is that there are no decorations, presents or alcohol involved. Both holidays have a fat man at the center, although George Costanza is a bit more short tempered, and a lot less jolly, than Santa Claus.
Today is already a national holiday for the Seinfeld nation, and nowadays, it feels like a national holiday everywhere else as well. But after the Festivus grievances are aired, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Years will resume their holiday monopoly.
AOL News- “Festivus Lives On Even Though Seinfeld Reruns Feel Increasingly Dated”
Boston Globe- “Happy Festivus (the holiday for the rest of us)”