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”.

National Pfeffernuesse Day

National Pferrernuesse Day takes place annually on 23 December. Pfeffernüsse are tiny spice cookies, popular as a holiday treat in Germany, Denmark, and The Netherlands, as well as among ethnic Mennonites in North America. They are called pepernoten in Dutch (plural), päpanät in Plautdietsch, pfeffernuesse or peppernuts in English, and pebernødder in Danish. The exact origin of the cookie is uncertain, however the traditional Dutch belief links the pepernoten to the feast of Sinterklaas, celebrated on 5 December or 6 December in The Netherlands and 6 December in Germany and Belgium. This is when children receive gifts from St. Nicholas, who is partially the inspiration for the Santa Claus tradition. In Germany, the pfeffernuss is more closely associated with Christmas. The cookie has been part of European yuletide celebrations since the 1850s. The name peppernut (Pfeffernüsse, pebernød etc.) does not mean it contains nuts, though some varieties do. The cookies are roughly the size of nuts and can be eaten by the handful, which may account for the name.

Throughout the years, the popularity of the pfeffernüsse has caused many bakers to create their own recipes. Though recipes differ, all contain aromatic spices – most commonly cinnamon, cloves, mace, nutmeg, cardamom, and anise. Some variations are dusted with powdered sugar, though that is not a traditional ingredient. Molasses and honey are also used to sweeten the cookies For the dough, most versions still use 19th century ingredients such as potassium carbonate and ammonium carbonate as leavening agents to get the sticky and dense consistency of the original mixture. It is then either kneaded by hand or through the use of an electric mixer. Pfeffernüsse are commonly mistaken for kruidnoten or spicy nuts in English. While they are both famous holiday cookies, the kruidnoten are harder, have a darker brown color, and have a different shape. Their ingredients are more similar to the ones used in making speculaas. Russian tea cakes are also confused with pfeffernüsse, especially when dusted in powdered sugar.

Night of the Radishes

The Night of the Radishes (Noche de Los Rábanos in Spanish) occurs annually in the city of Oaxaca, Mexico. It is dedicated to the carving of oversized radishes (Raphanus sativus) to create scenes that compete for prizes in various categories. The event has its origins in the colonial period when radishes were introduced by the Spanish. Oaxaca has a long wood carving tradition and farmers began carving radishes into figures as a way to attract customers’ attention at the Christmas market, which was held in the main square on December 23. In 1897, the city created the formal competition. As the city has grown, the city has had to dedicate land to the growing of the radishes used for the event, supervising their growth and distribution to competitors. The event has become very popular, attracting over 100 contestants and thousands of visitors. However, since the radishes wilt soon after cutting the works can only be displayed for a number of hours, which has led to very long lines for those wishing to see the works. The event also has display and competitions for works made with corn husks and dried flowers, which are created with the same themes as

Native to China, radishes were introduced to Mexico by the Spanish, particularly by the friars. Eventually it became used as a side dish, a snack or carved into decorations for special dishes. In the colonial period, the radishes began to be carved with religious themes in relation to the annual Christmas market held in the city of Oaxaca on December 23, with the encouragement of priests. The carvings were a marketing gimmick, with farmers using them to attract the attention of shoppers in the market in the city plaza. Eventually people began buying the radishes not only to eat, but to create centerpieces for Christmas dinners.
The legend as to how this began states that one year in the mid 18th century, the radish crop was so abundant that a section lay unharvested for months.

In December, two friars pulled up some of these forgotten radishes. The size and shapes were amusing and they brought them as curiosities to the Christmas market held on December 23. The misshapen vegetables attracted attention and soon they began to be carved to give them a wider variety of shapes and figures. In 1897, the then mayor of the city, Francisco Vasconcelos, decided to create a formal radish carving competition, which has been held ever since. Over the years various types of radishes have been used both in Oaxacan cuisine and for carving. A large completely white type called criollo was used earlier as it did not rot as readily and adopted more capricious forms. However this variety has since disappeared, but an image of them can be seen in a work by Diego Rivera called “Las tentaciones de San Antonio”.

The formal Noche de Rábanos competition focuses on the carving of radishes, which can be embellished with other elements. Most entries are scenes that use multiple radishes, with the most traditional being nativity scenes. Other Common scenes are related to life in Oaxaca such as the Guelaguetza, posadas, calendas (a kind of traditional party), Day of the Dead, Danza de la Pluma, Pineapple Harvest Dance and the Chilena from the Costa Chica, Oaxacan history and folklore as well as the veneration of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Juquila and Our Lady of Solitude, the patron of the state. However, they can also depict other themes such as non-Christmas Biblical stories and can even be in protest. The most common elements are the people, animals, food and handcrafts of the state, but they can also include duendes, snowmen, monsters and more.

Originally the radishes used by competitors were those raised by local farmers, but as the city has grown, taking over land traditionally dedicated to their cultivation, the municipal government has stepped in It has allocated an area near El Tequio Park to their cultivation, specially grown for the event. They are heavily fertilized, chemically treated and left in the ground long after normal harvests to allow them to reach monumental sizes and capricious shapes, which also makes then unsuitable for human consumption.The resulting vegetables can be up to fifty centimeters in length, ten centimeters or more wide and can weigh up to three kilos.In 2014, twelve tons of radishes were harvested for that event along. Local authorities monitor the harvest and distribute the crop to registered contestant on December 18. The radish currently used has a red skin and a white interior. The use of this radish, which is softer than other varieties, has precipitated a number of strategies different than those used in the past, one being the use of the contrast between the skin and the interior and the other to peel and flatten the red skin for use as clothing items, flags and more. Typically participants use knives and toothpicks to create the sculptures, after the tops of the radishes with their long, green leaves have been cut off (and sometimes used in the scenes). Although the carving of radishes evolved from the area’s tradition of wood carving, the current competition does not attract current wood carvers as the material is very different.

The event attracts over 100 participants from the city of Oaxaca and neighboring communities, especially San Antonino Velazco.In 2014 ninety four competed in the adult categories, along with sixty one youth and fifty children. Contestants register months in advance and from the 18th to the 23rd they must plan and design their scenes, generally using the natural shapes of the radishes they have been allotted as a guide. The actual carving and assembly of the entries occurs during the day of December 23. There are several categories of participation. For adults, radish sculptures and scenes can be in the traditional or “free” category, which is determined by theme. Works in the traditional category are for depictions of nativity scenes and those of Oaxacan traditions. Those in the free category generally depict more contemporary themes. However, as the function of the event is to preserve tradition, the grand prize of 15,000 pesos is awarded to the winner of the traditional category. In 2014 the grand prize winner was the entry “Dulces Regionales Oaxaqueños” by the Vasquez Lopez family. There are also prizes for participants competing as novices, and a children’s category for those aged from six to seventeen to encourage new generations to continue the tradition.Prizes for the children’s categories include bicycles and school supplies. The event has also added categories for scenes made not from radishes but instead from dried corn husks (called totomoxtle) and those made with a dried flower called “flor inmortal” (inmortal flower) named such as it dries quickly and keeps most of its color. These entries also have several sub categories and generally have similar themes to those done with radishes.

Since the radishes do not keep after they are cut and quickly wilt, the entire event lasts only for a number of hours from the late afternoon to early evening of December 23, with stands set up the morning before around the main square of the city and taken down the morning after. Visitors are permitted to pass by the stands starting in the late afternoon, with judging and the awarding of prizes taking place at about 9pm, with the radish sculptures removed shortly after that. The event has become popular, attracting thousands of visitors as well as functionaries that can include the state’s governor. Despite the creation of a two-line system (the one behind on a raised platform) for visitors to file by the stands, wait times can be as long as 4–5 hours to see the entries.

Human Light

HumanLight is a Humanist holiday celebrated annually on December 23. HumanLight was first celebrated in 2001, and was created to provide a specifically Humanist celebration during the western world’s holiday season. The date of December 23 was chosen so that Humanists could celebrate HumanLight without it encroaching on other holidays during the Festive Period.

The New Jersey Humanist Network founded the holiday in 2001 to aid secular people in commemorating the December holiday season without encroaching on other adjacent holidays—both religious ones such as Christmas and secular ones such as Solstice. The inaugural event involved only the founding organization, but is now celebrated by many secular organizations and individuals across the United States and other countries. Various organizations have recognized the holiday, including the American Humanist Association in 2004. The HumanLight Committee maintains the official HumanLight webpage and engages with humanist organizations and the media about the holiday.

HumanLight’s origins stem from members of the New Jersey Humanist Network asking in the late 1990s how secular people could best participate in the December holiday season.The inaugural event occurred at the Verona Park Boathouse in Verona, New Jersey on December 23, 2001, and was attended by nearly 100 people, including prominent Humanist Paul Kurtz. Celelebration of the holiday has expanded since its inaugural event. By 2010, there were at least thirty known public celebrations, and multiple secular organizations—including the American Humanist Association—had endorsed the holiday. The ceremonies themselves have also evolved. The first event involved a meal among its participants, along with artistic performances and other activities. Over the years, other traditions have been added

Emma by Jane Austen

The novel Emma by Jane Austen was published 23 December 1815. In this novel, Austen explores the concerns and difficulties of genteel women living in Georgian–Regency England; she also creates a lively comedy of manners concerning issues of marriage, gender, age, and social status. The novel concerns a character named Emma Woodhouse and begins shortly after she has attended the wedding of Miss Taylor, her friend and former governess, to Mr Weston. Having introduced them, Emma takes credit for their marriage, and decides that she likes matchmaking. After she returns home to Hartfield with her father, Emma forges ahead with her new interest against the advice of her brother-in-law, Mr Knightley, and tries to match her new friend Harriet Smith to Mr Elton, the local vicar, instead of Robert Martin, a respectable, educated, and well-spoken young farmer. However, Mr Elton, a social climber, thinks Emma is in love with him and proposes to her. After Emma rejects him, Mr Elton leaves for a stay at Bath and returns with a pretentious, nouveau-riche wife, as Mr Knightley expected. Harriet is heartbroken and Emma feels ashamed about misleading her.

Frank Churchill, Mr Weston’s son, arrives soon after. Frank was adopted by his wealthy and domineering aunt and he has had very few opportunities to visit before. Mr Knightley tells Emma about Frank. Jane Fairfax also comes home to see her aunt, Miss Bates, and grandmother, Mrs Bates, for a few months, before becoming a governess herself. She is the same age as Emma and has been given an excellent education by her father’s friend, Colonel Campbell. Emma envies Jane’s talent and is annoyed to find all, including Mrs Weston and Mr Knightley, praising her. The patronising Mrs Elton takes Jane under her wing and announces that she will find her the ideal governess post before it is wanted. Emma begins to feel some sympathy for Jane’s predicament.

Emma decides that Jane and Mr Dixon, Colonel Campbell’s new son-in-law, are in love . Suspicions are further fueled when a piano, sent by an anonymous benefactor, arrives for Jane. Emma feels herself falling in love with Frank. The Eltons treat Harriet badly, and Mr Elton publicly snubs Harriet at the ball given by the Westons in May. The day after the ball, Frank brings Harriet to Hartfield, Harriet is grateful, and Emma thinks this is love, not gratitude. Meanwhile, Mrs Weston wonders if Mr Knightley has taken a fancy to Jane and so Mr Knightley, Jane, Frank and Emma Continue to get the wrong idea. Later at Box Hill, a local beauty spot, Frank and Emma continue to banter together and Emma, in jest, thoughtlessly insults Miss Bates.

Emma tries to make ammends after insulting Miss Bates, impressing Mr Knightley in the process and learns that Jane has accepted the position of governess from one of Mrs Elton’s friends after the outing. Jane now becomes ill, and refuses to see Emma or accept her gifts. Meanwhile, Frank was visiting his aunt, who dies soon after he arrives. Now he and Jane reveal to the Westons that they have been secretly engaged since the autumn but Frank knew that his aunt would disapprove. The strain of the secrecy on the conscientious Jane had caused the two to quarrel and Jane ended the engagement. Frank’s easygoing uncle readily gives his blessing to the match and the engagement becomes public. Emma is certain that Frank’s engagement will devastate Harriet, but instead Harriet tells her that she loves Mr Knightley, and Emma’s encouragement and Mr Knightley’s kindness have given her hope. Emma is startled, and realizes that she is the one who wants to marry Mr Knightley. Mr Knightley returns to console Emma from Frank and Jane’s engagement and proposes to Emma and Harriet also accepts Robert Martin’s second proposal