[ExI] Why is xmas 'the holiday season' in America??

PJ Manney pjmanney at gmail.com
Mon Dec 17 16:10:19 UTC 2007

On Dec 16, 2007 4:14 PM, Olga Bourlin <fauxever at sprynet.com> wrote:
> Yes ... Christmas became a legal holiday in most states at this time as it
> was thought the time off would be a morale booster for soldiers fighting the
> Civil War.

As was Thanksgiving, which wasn't made a national holiday until
Lincoln made it so in 1863, again for Civil War morale.  The date was
solidified by Franklin Roosevelt in 1933, as a psychological and
monetary boost for the Great Depression.

Obviously US independence day (Fourth of July) and Memorial Day are
war/morale related.  Mother's Day was concieved to unite women against
war, in the post Civil War era and ratified during WWI.  Father's Day
was right on the heels of Mother's Day, first in response to a mine
explosion(!), but celebrated politically during WWI and made official
under Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon during Vietnam.  Labor Day was
in response to the tremendously violent labor unrest during the
1880's, however, the US's Labor Day was untethered from the
international Labor Day of May 1st in fear of solidifying socialist
connotations and promoting unrest and is celebrated in September.

I never thought about it before, but it's looking like US holidays
were all made to lift our spirits during bad times -- usually wars --
and to promote national solidarity, even if the symbolic connection is
tenuous (Mother's Day???).  I wouldn't be surprised if you look at
other nations' holidays, a similar pattern would emerge.  When times
are tough, give 'em a day off and a greeting card.  :-/

What holiday(s) do you all suppose will be created during our time?

Another interesting note:  The first Thanksgiving wasn't in the
Massachusetts Bay Colony between the Puritan Pilgrim colonists and the
natives in 1621.  It was in Canada in 1578.  Not only is their dollar
stronger, their holiday is older!  To quote the South Park boys,
"Blame Canada!"  ;-)


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