Festivus is celebrated on December 23 as an alternative to the pressures and commercialism of the Christmas season. The celebration of Festivus as depicted on Seinfeld, occurs on December 23 and includes a Festivus dinner, an unadorned aluminum Festivus pole, practices such as the “Airing of Grievances” and “Feats of Strength”, and the labeling of easily explainable events as “Festivus miracles” The episode refers to it as “a Festivus for the rest of us”. Festivus has been described both as a parody holiday festival and as a form of playful consumer resistance.
was conceived by author and editor Daniel O’Keefe, the father of TV writer Dan O’Keefe, and was celebrated by his family as early as 1966. While the Latin word festivus means “excellent, jovial, lively”, and derives from festus, meaning “joyous; holiday, feast day”, Festivus in this sense was coined by the elder O’Keefe. According to him, the name “just popped into my head”. In the original O’Keefe tradition, the holiday would take place to celebrate the anniversary of Daniel O’Keefe’s first date with his future wife, Deborah. The phrase “a Festivus for the rest of us” originally referred to those remaining after the death of the elder O’Keefe’s mother, Jeanette, in 1976; i.e., the “rest of us” are the living, as opposed to the dead. In 1982, Daniel O’Keefe wrote a book, Stolen Lightning: The Social Theory of Magic, that deals with idiosyncratic ritual and its social significance, a theme relevant to Festivus tradition It is now celebrated on December 23, as depicted in the Seinfeld episode written by the younger O’Keefe.
includes practices such as the “Airing of Grievances”, which occurs during the Festivus meal and in which each person tells everyone else all the ways they have disappointed them over the past year. After the meal, the “Feats of Strength” are performed, involving wrestling the head of the household to the floor, with the holiday ending only if the head of the household is pinned. Festivus begins with an aluminum pole and During Festivus, the pole is displayed unadorned, a celebratory dinner also takes place on the evening of Festivus prior to the Feats of Strength and during the Airing of Grievances ” which continue immediately after the Festivus dinner has been served. This consists of each person lashing out at others and the world about how they have been disappointed in the past year.
The Feats of Strength are the final tradition observed in the celebration of Festivus, celebrated immediately following (or in the case of “The Strike”, during) the Festivus dinner. The head of the household selects one person at the Festivus celebration and challenges them to a wrestling match. Tradition states Festivus is not over until the head of the household is pinned. In “The Strike”, however, Kramer manages to circumvent the rule by creating an excuse to leave. The Feats of Strength are mentioned twice in the episode before they take place. In both instances, no detail was given as to what had happened, but in both instances, George Costanza ran out of the coffee shop in a mad panic, implying he had bad experiences with the Feats of Strength in the past. What the Feats of Strength entailed was revealed at the very end of the episode, when it took place. Failing to pin the head of the household results in Festivus continuing until such requirement is met. Festivus miracles may also occur during Festivus
Many other traditions have arose during Festivus; During the Baltimore Ravens’ run to the Super Bowl XXXV Championship in 2000, head coach Brian Billick superstitiously issued an organizational ban on the use of the word “playoffs” until the team had clinched its first postseason berth. “Playoffs” was instead referred to as “Festivus” and the Super Bowl as “Festivus Maximus”. In 2005, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle was declared “Governor Festivus”, and during the holiday season displayed a Festivus Pole in the family room of the Executive Residence in Madison, Wisconsin. Governor Doyle’s 2005 Festivus Pole is now part of the collection of the Wisconsin Historical Museum.
In 2010, a CNN story featured the increasing popularity of the holiday, including US Representative Eric Cantor’s Festivus fundraiser, And in 2012, Google introduced a custom search result for the term “Festivus”. In addition to the normal results, an unadorned aluminum pole was displayed running down the side of the list of search results and “A festivus miracle!” prefixes the results count and speed. A Festivus Pole was also erected on city property in Deerfield Beach, Florida, alongside religious-themed holiday displays another one was erected next to religious displays in the Wisconsin State Capitol, along with a banner provided by the Freedom From Religion Foundation advocating for the separation of government and religion. In 2013 and 2014, a Festivus Pole constructed with 6 feet (1.8 m) of beer cans was erected next to a nativity scene and other religious holiday displays in the Florida State Capitol Building, as a protest supporting separation of church and state.In 2015, a Festivus pole was displayed decorated with a gay pride theme and topped with a disco ball to celebrate the United States Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage, at state capitols in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Washington.
In 2016, US Senator Rand Paul released a special Festivus edition of The Waste Report.
In 2016, the Tampa Bay Times allowed readers to submit Festivus grievances through its website, with the promise to publish them on December 23, the day of the Festivus holiday. In 2017, President Donald Trump berated the news media for airing grievances “instead of focusing on his accomplishments and offering an optimistic positive view of what he’s doing for this country, On Christmas Eve 2017, a meme circulated on social media of a screenshot depicting Fox News contributor Tomi Lahren delivering a Fox News Alert in which the lower third graphic overlay had been photoshopped to read, “Tomi: Obama Created Festivus to Destroy Christmas.” In 2018, a Newsweek magazine article was titled “Donald Trump Calls Troops On Thanksgiving But Ends Up Having A Festivus Airing Of Grievances”.