Festivus: What you need to know about the holiday

Festivus, a holiday that originated from an episode of "Seinfeld," is a big deal for the rest of us not celebrating other major religious events this winter. (AP)

It’s a problem for many Americans: The holiday season rolls around, and you have no idea what to celebrate. You didn’t have any affiliation with Christianity or Christmas growing up, nor did you ever practice Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or any of the other December holidays. But finally there is a holiday for you: Festivus!

What is Festivus?

Festivus stems directly from the popular sitcom “Seinfeld,” specifically the episode “The Strike.” This episode first aired on NBC on December 18, 1997. Conceived by George Costanza’s father Frank, the holiday’s slogan is “A Festivus for the rest of us.”

What are some of the traditions of Festivus?

One of the most important traditions of Festivus is the Airing of Grievances, where families and friends have an opportunity to tell each other how they were disappointed by that person in the past year.

Following the Airing of Grievances, a Festivus dinner and a Feats of Strength competition take place, where the head of household must be pinned in a wrestling match underneath the Festivus poll.

What inspired Festivus?

The Festivus seen in “Seinfeld” came from Dan O’Keefe, a “Seinfeld” writer whose father invented a similar holiday including an Airing of Grievances and wrestling match in real life. One tradition that didn’t make it to the episode however was O’Keefe’s father putting a clock in a bag and nailing it to a wall.

When does Festivus occur?

In “Seinfeld,” Festivus took place on December 23. However, people have been celebrating the holiday allthrough the month of December since the episode’s airing.

What is served at a Festivus dinner?

Spaghetti or Meatloaf are commonly served items because those were the ones identifiable when Estelle Costanza brought out those dishes during Festivus dinner. However, the O’Keefe family ate turkey or ham with dessert of a cake decorated with M&Ms. Many have chosen to eat foods that were featured in “Seinfeld” like poppyseed bagels or black and white cookies. Whatever you choose to eat is based off of your Festivus denomination.

How many people celebrate Festivus?

While exact numbers are unclear, Festivus has gained widestream popularity over the years. In 2013, an atheist organization erected a Festivus pole constructed of beer cans next to other religious displays at the Florida State Capital building.

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