For many Seinfeld fans, Wednesday marks a special fictional holiday that usually begins with the ‘airing of grievances.’
For faithful fans of the ‘90s sitcom, Festivus is still a celebrated “holiday,” 18 years after making its way into popular culture, thanks to the Costanza family.
Festivus was introduced in 1997, during the Seinfeld episode dubbed “The Strike.” In short, George’s father, Frank, explained to Kramer the origins of the made-up holiday, which George despised as a child.
“Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way,” Frank explains.
What happened to the doll? Kramer asked.
“It was destroyed. But out of that a new holiday was born … a Festivus for the rest of us!” Frank said.
Yadda-yadda-yadda, Festivus made its way into popular culture.
For those who don’t know, the made-up holiday is celebrated on Christmas Eve Eve by erecting an unadorned aluminum pole, taking part in the “feats of strength” (pretty much a wrestling match with a family member, usually the “head of the household”), and the “airing of grievances” (telling a family member what disappointed them this year).
Here’s a clip from the show that can bring you up to speed.
Even in 2015, the so-called anti-Christmas fictional holiday is still celebrated (or at least referenced), mainly through the “airing of grievances.”
Mark Nelson, the Canadian author of Festivus! The Book, said the fictional holiday still thrives because of the love for the show that really was about nothing.
“There’s a lot of people who still love Seinfeld and that’s really a huge component of the love of Festivus,” Nelson explained. “There’s other factors for peoples’ love for Festivus…there’s a smaller group of people that like the idea of a non-commercial holiday. Some may be disillusioned of what Christmas has become.”
Festivus was actually inspired by Seinfeld writer, Dan O’Keefe and based on real-life events.
“Others just like the idea of having a zany holiday,” Nelson said.
The author explained that as long as Seinfeld remains a hot property, thanks to binge-watching streaming sites, Festivus will continue to be celebrated by some on Dec. 23.
Heck, politicians even use Festivus to air their grievances. Earlier on Wednesday, Rand Paul went after both Republican and Democratic presidential candidates.
“Today’s the day that people might actually listen to them because people are paying attention to anything related to Festivus,” Nelson said. “They feel that they have an open channel on Festivus…so it fits in perfectly with what they want to do.”
So it appears that Festivus will remain with the rest of us some 18 years on.