Halloween, Black Friday, July 4th, and Thanksgiving. These holidays are crossing the Atlantic from the United States and creeping into United Kingdom, and even Spain. Any excuse to spend money, eat confectionary and drink alcohol. We all know that these traditional holidays have been reduced to an excuse for the retail industry bombard us with things we don’t need and can’t afford. Why else would you waste your money on plastic zombie masks, pumpkins and ‘candy, expensive gifts, garish sweaters and just about anything you can think of on Black Friday. I even received an email from a clinic this evening offering me up to €900 off plastic surgery on Black Friday… what a pity I’m perfect, and don’t need it!
There are some ‘imported’ holidays that I don’t mind, for example Oktoberfest breathes a little life into my town in an otherwise dead month, and nobody shoves it down your throat. They also sell some pretty good sausages at Lidl. If you want to go, you go. If you don’t, you won’t notice it’s happening. The same goes for St Patrick’s day, which I have only celebrated once, and I must say, I had fun! I would also love to celebrate Holi, although I have never had the occasion. Who could resist that fantastic Indian music, and all those colourful powders. I must try and plan a trip to India at that time of year.
One holiday I feel am embarrassed to see British people embracing is Independence Day. Don’t they realise that Americans are celebrating the anniversary of the publication of the declaration of independence from Great Britain in 1776. The Americans are celebrating getting rid of the Brits, so it hardly seems appropriate to join in… but like so many of these occasions, it is an excuse to sell food, drink and fireworks to us greedy consumers.
Thanksgiving is here for the Americans, but that tradition is not exclusively their own. It is a festival common to many countries, albeit with different names. A harvest festival is a time when people thank the gods that they believe in for the crops that they have worked hard to grow all year. Given that crops and climate conditions are different around the world, these festivals are not held on the same dates everywhere. In Britain, Harvest festivals have traditionally been held on the Sunday near or of the Harvest Moon. Churches are decorated with food and fruit, and religious people sing and pray.
I think they’ve got the right idea in Sri Lanka, where every full moon is a public holiday and they eat massive banquets of vegetarian food. Now that’s one holiday I wish they would adopt here.