Category Archives: American Holidays

The Hilarity Of Halloween

Happy Halloween

Halloween is scary — apparently. From every corner of digital Christendom is sounding the quaking alarm that participation in Halloween is tantamount to inviting the devil into your house. Hearsay about pagan origins and evil practices abounds. Even cooler-headed writers skeptical of the dubious beginnings of trick-or-treating and jack-o-lanterns warn that the overall character of Halloween is unprofitable at best and harmful at worst. But there’s a countering voice among Christians (and among people of other religions or none) that Halloween is totally innocent fun, that it’s inconsequential, vacant amusement. I personally think Halloween may be more complex and interesting than either of those positions makes it out to be. Continue reading

Columbus Day

Ships_of_Christopher_Columbus

I’ve gotten into the accidental habit of critically reflecting on American holidays. That can be an alienating habit, and one in bad taste, when we’re rewarded so handsomely by the economic machine for unreflectively participating as consumers in the one-day sales and holiday discounts. But it turns out I’m not the only one critically reflecting on Columbus Day lately. Continue reading

Memorial Day

national cemetery

Today’s the last Monday in May, which means it’s Memorial Day — the day Americans have set aside to specially remember and honor the men and women who have given their lives in the armed service of the nation. A day that remembers this profound sacrifice from our fallen soldiers, especially on a national level, especially in the face of an ever increasingly selfish, petty, and nihilistic culture is important now more than ever. Continue reading

Faith And Sight

Today is the 4th of July, the 235th birthday of our nation, as it were.  I’m not entirely sure what I’ll be doing yet, but I anticipate various grilled and delicious foods, a lot of relaxing, and hopefully some illegal fireworks.  Among our current Federal holidays, Independence Day is one of the more straightforward and worthy of the days to close our banks and post offices, I think (Washington’s b-day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day I have my reservations about).  The beginning of a nation, especially one founded on a set of principles and not merely geography or a distinct racial identity, is monumental.  It’s even more so when that beginning is intrinsically bound with the ending of its prior identity as a set of colonies belonging to another nation, hence Independence Day.  Though we often memorialize that set of principles on the 4th as the basis for declaring independence, the holiday is primarily for celebrating the reality of independence itself.  Since independence is a reality, a definite and verifiable situation or condition, and if it were not always so, it must logically have an origin or starting point.  I think it’s interesting that we commemorate that starting point on the anniversary of the ratifying of the Declaration of Independence. Continue reading

Thanksgiving

Rockwell Thanksgiving

I’m sitting on a deck right now overlooking a meager acreage of Georgia woodland, its trees half clad in dwindling purples, golds, and reds. The rising sun behind the house is casting a shadow slicing the trees in half with its sharp morning rays. Between the bare trunks and falling foliage is the truest blue sky this season has seen yet. It’s still chilly, and the birds are at a relaxed pace, sounding their thanksgivings. Continue reading