Plum Pudding Day

A good friend of mine read what God and I discussed last time about how we find ways to mark out special birthdays in our lives and wondered about the way we mark out special days during the year. I decided that was an interesting enough area that I took some time out to talk to God about that.

The first thing that God told me is that for any stretch longer than from one meal to the next we’ve had a long history of looking for points to celebrate, or at least to mark the passage of time. We break up our lives into mini-epochs, from child, to teenager, to adult, to middle age, and on from there. We break up our days into mornings, afternoons, evenings and nights. We break up the year into twelve months, the day into twelve hours and the night into another twelve hours. The months have their weeks and the weeks have days and ends. Time may get us all eventually but we hack and slice it every chance we get along the way.

So what about our annual events? Why do we celebrate those days we mark out on our calendars? Well some of it, like I said is more or less just to break up the year. We mark the transitions from one season to the next, we have our fertility festivals come the Spring, we vacation in the Summer, we practice facing death when Autumn comes around and in the midst of Winter we oversee the death of one year and the birth of the next. I understand all that and I told God as much, but I asked her what about all those smaller events? What about St. Patrick’s Day and Valentine’s Day and Groundhog’s Day and Black History Month and Gay Pride Parades? What about our birthdays and anniversaries, and Veteran’s Day and on and on?

Well, it turns out that the truth of it is quite simple. We just like to party. All those big celebrations? They were once small and were celebrated by just a few people, but they caught on, they made it big. And the people that came up with the idea of celebrating Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday (hey, that’s today!) just wanted another excuse to party, and they hope you’ll join them. And if enough people do, well it could get to be as big as Memorial Day, and if it doesn’t? Well, we like to have small parties too. Sometimes we want a celebration that’s a little more personal, that’s a little less crowded, and that’s where the birthdays and anniversaries come in. And months with five Saturdays, we should all celebrate the fifth Saturday of any month that has one, because after all, life is short.

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