Kage Baker loved holidays – but she liked old, traditional ones. She liked them to pre-date the Industrial Revolution, by choice. Possibly the Agricultural Revolution, as well.
I, on the other hand, enjoy the many, many insane holidays cobbled together in recent years by folks desperate for free publicity or an excuse to party more. Things like National Oreo Day, or Two-left Feet Memorial Day, or – one of my personal favourites – The Day The Buzzards Return To Hinkley, Ohio.
My fondness for these holidays, and amusement at lists of them, was a source of much annoyance for Kage. She scorned most of my festive efforts – except, notably, Oreo Day, which no one in their right mind would ignore … Kimberly, at one point when we all worked at the same company in Los Angeles, used to go from department to department scattering Oreos from a big basket; very popular with our co-workers.
Anyway, just about every day of the year is home to some demented celebration or other. A lot of them commemorate food and drink – in fact, this last year, Kimberly and I have taken to using them as inspiration for dinners. When you just cannot come up with an idea for a balanced meal and no member of the family has a sensible suggestion: check to see what the day is memorializing, and build a meal around that. It saves waning brain power and is often surprisingly tasty. Or at least a surprise.
January 2nd is infamous as a downer sort of day, because the bulk of the holiday season has now conspicuously passed. You’ve eaten most of the sweeties you got in your stocking, and the cookies are running low. It can be very sad … luckily, today has some splendid after-market holidays attached to it; and if there’s a day that deserves a little extra work in celebration, it’s January 2nd.
It’s the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus; also of Basil the Great, and Gregory of Nazianzus – if you are some variety of Christian. It’s also Kamakura Ebisu, in honour of the Japanese god of commerce. My source says young women go about offering “good luck charms made of bamboo and sake”, so I figure this must be a pretty happy festival. It’s a Carnivale Day in Columbia, Switzerland, the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Alsace and Lichtenstein. And it’s New Year’s in Scotland.
If you don’t fancy crowds, it’s World Introvert Day: sit by yourself and have a party. And it’s National Cream Puff Day, which would make having a solo party a lot easier.
It’s also Toss A Fruitcake Day, which I consider a perverse past-time. I like fruitcake, and the only place I’m tossing it today is in my mouth. And it’s Swiss Cheese Day.
Perhaps best of all, however: it is Science Fiction Day! Huzzah, huzzah. huzzah, and a tiger! Read some science fiction – play with your newest tech toys – consider how little you ever really thought you’d end up being alive in the 21st Century!
We are, of course, living in the Science Fiction Times, as Kage always said. Almost everything I’ve done and will do today is touched by science fiction – I’m composing this on my computer, in the soft light of the glowing map of Mars on my wall. I heated my dinner of excellent holiday leftovers in a microwave oven. I’ve got three extra pages open on my computer screen simultaneously with this one, each showing information from a different encyclopedia. My heart is full of plastic and platinum, and there’s a functioning satellite dish on my roof. All hail to Science Fiction Day!
It’s a permanent party around here, Dear Readers! Just pay attention to the lesser known holidays, and you shall never want for reasons to throw confetti and raise a glass of cheer.
And incidentally, Hinckley Ohio Buzzards Return Day is coming up on March 15th. Mark your calendars, kids.