Missed holidays and coming holidays

I am simply delighted with how many more holidays I get to celebrate than back when I was an atheist.

We only had three:

  • Crossmas (Dec 25) when we became cross that everyone was out celebrating the birth of a fictional super baby. We celebrate by standing in the snow and muttering how Scrooge was weak-minded, because if I saw three ghosts in a dream, it would not change MY opinions;
  • Tax Day (April 15th) when we complained that Churches should be taxes just like movie theaters, since all they did was put on a show;  and
  • Independence Day (July 4th) when the Founding Fathers wised up and wrote in the First Amendment to put the federal government out of the business of establishing the Established Church.

(The Atheist non-Church also wanted to have the birthday of my hero James Randi, famous debunker, becelebrated by a solemn feast. Some of us want him to be made a non-Saint, for having debunked at least three non-miracles, particularly those of Uri Geller. I wrote to the non-Pope in support of this idea, but I never heard back.)

Those gloomy days are gone! Now I have more holidays than I know what to do with. I’ve already missed some:

I did not celebrate the Feast of Stephen (Dec 26th) by giving anything to the poor this year, partly because I did not found out about it in time, and partly because my page boy froze to death walking in my foot steps. I told him clearly to step where the snow was dinted, but he studied English in a modern state-run school and so he learned new math, but not what the word dinted meant. (for those of you keeping track, 2nd day of Christmas, two turtle doves). Next year, for sure.

Dec 28th was Childermas, to memorialize the Slaughter of the Holy Innocents by Herod. It is traditional to let the youngest child in the family give all the commands and make all the decisions that day: but since this is the way the Wright household is normally run, it also was let slip without notice. (Four Colly Birds)

Jan 1st is the feast of the Circumcision of Jesus. Too bad Charles Dickens never wrote up a book about this one, you know, how Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the Mohil of Before, During and After the foreskin-cutting. The traditional English foods for this feast are wieners and spotted dick, and a type of French Cheese called Bris Milah, I think. Good thing I am too refined and pious to make cheap, unfunny jokes about an ancient and respected holy feast day.  (Seven Swans a-Swimming).

UPDATE: the name of this feast day was changed to the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. It celebrates how, eight days after the birth of the savior, she finally managed to get the shepherds, stars, angels and magi and all those kneeing and praying goats and camels out of her hotel room, and especially that annoying drummer boy. However, staying awake all night feeding the crying baby lasts through Lent, according to the traditional calendar, and extends through to March 25th, which is also called Lady’s Day, celebrating when the baby finally slept through the night, and Mary got a good night’s sleep too. If you think this event not worth celebrating, you have not had small children, believe you me, brother. Every mother who has been through this is a saint in my book.

Jan 5th. Twelfth Night. This is the traditional day when crossdressers get lost in the forest and spend time either hiding from evil Dukes or romancing shepherdesses with Shakespearean sonnets. (Eleventh day. Ladies Dancing, or drummers drumming, as you like.)

Jan 6th. Epiphany! I just had the startling, supernatural revelation that epiphany is coming! It is not too late!  (Lords a-Leaping! Or pipers piping, as you like. I have decided I must use Lords a-Leaping! as a faux swearword, the way Wonder Woman says Suffering Sappho!) Memorialized one of three events: the gifts of the magi, the baptism of Jesus, or the appearance of Jesus in the temple to an astonished St. Simeon.  The close of the Advent and Christmas season. The wife and I have already made plans to celebrate with homemade ice cream.  I do not know what the traditional celebration involved: standing around with your mouth hanging open, eyes popping, I suppose.

Candalmas is Groundhog Day! My son was born on this day. It is a good thing he did not see his shadow, or else he would have gone back into the womb for eight more weeks of pregnancy.

St. Agnes Eve is the day when all good Christian girls summon up the Witch of Endor to see who their future husbands will be. And PLEASE do not rush to tell me this rite is a pagan survival. The whole of Christianity is a pagan survival; nowhere does the color and gaiety, the gold tints and the solemn bells, the Vestal Virgins and fantastic bestiary of paganism survive except in the Church. One might even say the ancient world dies and was resurrected after three days, and arose transfigured, losing none of the grace and dignity of the pagans, but gaining a rational moral character from the Jews. The good parts of paganism we kept; what we left behind was concubinage, infanticide, the gladiatorial games, and the Wicker Man.

Well, it will be a long time until Michaelmas, the celebration of the defeat of Satan at the hands of the archangel Michael. September 28th, the date when you collect rents, and eat goose. I am hoping the updated version, post-Vatican II, involves lightsabers and battling giant dragons in midair.