This is a post in response to what I have been hearing all the time lately, everywhere I go, and it’s becoming sickening to say the least. “Have a Merry Christmas.” At my job, all they play is Christmas music all the time, every minute of every day. If I was Jewish or Muslim or Zoroastrian, I would be ready to explode. I am not a Christian, nor do I affiliate myself with their holidays, although my family still does, even though they’ve left Christianity behind as well. I will make it a mission to tell everyone who wishes me a merry Christmas that I am not a Christian, and that I am insulted by your assumption that just because I am white, nice, and polite that I must be a Christian because that’s the only religion that breeds productive members of society. These are their words not mine.
Some people say Happy Holidays. Happy holidays is fine, if your particular belief system celebrates a holiday at this time of year, but why do we have to wish these things on people who don’t necessarily follow these “holidays?” We’re a country who is supposed to have separation of church and state, but every Christmas day, all the businesses are closed and there is no real tolerance for non-conformity. It is a given that everyone celebrates Christmas and it is a day where nobody goes anywhere, except to maybe a family member’s house. Even the schools have “Christmas vacation,” which is paradoxical in itself to the people who don’t celebrate it. What about when their particular holiday comes around and they’re stuck going to work or school? They don’t get a day off at all. It’s not fair that we make special preferences for certain religions when it comes to holidays and vacations.
Here’s what I’m proposing. I want to create my own holiday, one that occurs maybe sometime in January, a three-day event called Strap Day. I’ll give you a history of Strap Day to further indulge your curiosity. Strap Day started when I was in twelfth grade when my friend and I were doing a word jumble of the eleven-letter word “insatiable.” For some reason, I must have copied it down wrong or something, and while attempting to unscramble the letters to form the word I was looking for, ended up coming up with “strap day.” Strap Day has become one of my favorite personal holidays. Here is how it basically works:
- Every year, in mid-January, we buy an onslaught of straps, which we worship in a non-religious way for six hours, while facing Woonsocket, RI, where Strap Day came into origination.
- We hang the straps on a collection of hooks and admire them while sharing stories of how Strap Day came into origination. It is considered unethical to have the straps hung up before Strap day, but it is a priority to have them hung up the earliest possible time on the first day of Strap Day.
- It was originally thought that this would be followed by the death of the first-born son, but this is not an action that can be completed every year, so we dumped it completely.
- Each person grabs their respective strap and goes over to the person of their choice and starts beating that person with the strap lightly for no more than seven minutes. This is done starting with the youngest of the family, progressing to the older family members.
- Now, Strap Day is not for the feint of heart. We use the straps and then we burn them, so that the next year, in anticipation for strap day, we can design and decorate a new strap for each of us. Sometimes we even exchange straps, in the bizarre hope that we do not get beaten with that particular strap. It’s more of a peace offering, if you would.
So, that’s Strap Day in a nutshell. I know it may sound bizarre, but to me, Christmas and Haunakah and Kwanzaa all sound weird. So, when January 11-13 comes around, what will you be celebrating? I am going to start wishing people a Happy Strap Day, complete strangers even, just to gauge their reaction and to explain to them the facets of Strap Day.
The rules of Strap Day are not written in stone. I encourage every family to put their own spin on their Strap Day tradition. You can add or subtract any components you do not agree with, as I am open to new ideas as well, so if you have any, be sure to respond. Since it is only three years or so old, Strap day is something that is a work in progress. I have not yet gotten it to perfection, but it doesn’t really matter. I believe I should request those days off from work. I just hope one of those days isn’t a real holiday, as it may offend people who celebrate MLK day or something, but I believe it’s on the 15th or something, right? So it’s more of a precursor to the civil rights day, and I think that’s appropriate, as Dr. King preached acceptance of everyone, no matter their color or beliefs.
So join with me in a celebration of freedom of holidays. Don’t subscribe to Christmas and Haunakah, but come on over to the dark side, not dark because of evil, but because of lack of light, and enjoy the wonders that can be bestowed upon you and the pride you’ll have after you’ve completed your first strap, worshipped it, placed in on a hook, and then beaten a family member (lightly) with it. And if you celebrate Christmas, you might as well use the same hooks or tacks you used to hang up the stockings to hang up the straps. Time for me to start making my strap. I believe this year, I’ll make it out of mock leather or possibly cow hide, although I do not feel an animal should have to die for me to make a valid strap. I’ll update on this and I will give another post during Strap Day to give you a firsthand insight into the experience. Last but not least I know I spelled Hanukah wrong or however it’s spelled, but don’t be offended. It wasn’t my intention.