It seems that every month there is some sort of a holiday, from civic days to statutory holidays to family day. With a sprinkling of days like Halloween to Valentine’s Day where many people l know also seem to take these days off.
I don’t have an issue with these holidays, but why do we need to glorify them with parades and special events to commemorate these days? The marketing aspect of these holidays has gotten so out of hand that l really don’t look forward to these so called long weekends.
Let’s take this Labour Day long weekend and find out the true meaning behind it… (?)
This holiday officially celebrates workers and the labour union movement, however, most of us only think of it as the last long weekend of the summer. Does this holiday need to have parades with endless people walking together to supposedly show solidarity?
On the other hand, most families have holiday traditions, regardless of what holiday you are celebrating. Even when we grow up and form our own families, we naturally merge our new traditions with some of the old. It seems that traditions, new or old, have a strong place in our hearts. Holiday traditions become an essential aspect of how we celebrate, and there is a reason why we keep them as a part of our lives for so long. Simply put, we hold onto holiday traditions because they add meaning to our celebrations and help bond us to those we love.
Holiday traditions are essentially ritualistic behaviors that nurture us and our relationships.
They are primal parts of us, which have survived since the dawn of man. Traditional celebrations of holidays have been around as long as recorded history. Holiday traditions are an important part to building a strong bond between family and our community. They give us a sense of belonging and a way to express what is important to us. They connect us to our history and help us celebrate generations of family. They keep the memories of the past alive and help us share them with newer generations.
People who fail to understand the true meaning of holiday events or participate actively in the celebration of cultural traditions are not doing anything wrong. However, when they start ranting and raving about why all holidays are bad or do nothing other than waste time and money for all concerned, the social and emotional damage they do to people who do enjoy communal events actually epitomizes narcissistic and anti-social purveyance of social abuse.
I may sound like a Grinch, but in my mature years l am trying to convince myself that we do not need parades and fanfare to celebrate our long weekends: we need to keep it simple.
However, l do have an open mind on the fact that these holidays create positive memories for children and provide positive events for everyone to anticipate. Children crave the comfort and security that comes with traditions and predictability.
Coming full circle on my position on these holidays, l must say that the only long weekend or statutory holiday that sticks out with me is the Annual Labour Day Parade that ran across Queen Street West and ended up going through the princess gates at the CNE. As a child l looked forward to walking down with my brothers and parents to sit on the concrete curb and watch all these grown up men walk by us and occasionally give us a union button or some candy.
Even back then l wondered why we were watching these people walk by us and what significance this parade had.
I know that this parade showed solidarity for the workers and membership in labour unions in the United States and in Canada reached an all-time high in the 1950s when about 33 percent of the work force belonged to unions. In 2019, union membership is about 11% of the working population, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
If there is a simple take away message here, it’s that traditions nurture our spirit and are an important part of family bonding. Don’t get caught up in instituting the perfect family tradition, it’s not about being perfect: it’s about the experience you share with your family.