December 23, 2013

Keep Your Christmas! It's Maosday For Me!

I don't celebrate Christmas. I suppose I could be said to observe it: since the early '80s, I don't think I've missed a December 25 family gathering, but thematically they have zero Christianity.

I don't celebrate Hanukkah, and I consider it a kind of fake-y holiday, puffed up over the last century, in the US especially, as an alternative Christmas (or Christmas Lite) to help Jewish parents keep their offspring from being tempted into the more commodified Christian camp.  

I don't celebrate the various attempts to revive solstice-based pagan festivals. True, the originals gave rise to all of the religious yearend observances, but since Kepler, Copernicus and Galileo we know the cycle of seasons is lawful and its recurrence doesn't require a lot of hoopla.

I don't celebrate Kwanzaa for a number of reasons. While I am of African descent (we all are—it's where humanity came from, after all), I am not part of the more recent African diaspora the holiday is intended for. And I'm not much on single day rituals myself; ones that last seven are definitely tl;do (too long; didn't observe). Mostly, though, I came up in the '60s and find it hard to warm up to any project of Ron Karenga's. I remember John Huggins and Bunchy Carter.

(Still, you have to give Karenga some credit. It's no small feat to make up a holiday celebrated by millions and observed by the US Postal Service with a fresh release of new Kwanzaa stamps every year.)

Yet I prefer not to be left out of the seasonal festivities entirely. And by great good fortune, it happens that Chairman Mao was born on December 26 (in 1893). Hence Maosday, a splendid holiday for proletarians of all nations. A celebration of revolutionary history and struggle.

We can simply emulate the Christian clerics who over the last two millennia appropriated all manner of practices from previous winter festivals—trees from Scandinavia, carols from the British Isles, feasting and partying from pretty much everywhere, like the Roman Saturnalia. &c.

In fact, the 26th is already, in Britain and many of its former colonies, a holiday with a slight working class flavor, Boxing Day. Its origins are appropriately secular. Since the aristocracy and the wealthy required, obviously, all their servants around them on Christmas Day, cooking, cleaning, butling and so on, the Downstairs folk were not permitted to be with their families until the next day. Then they would be sent home with boxes containing small gifts and perhaps some nice leftovers from the Christmas feast.

Come the revolution, the switchover should be fairly easy. Christmas becomes Maosday Eve, a lesser holiday which people can observe as they see fit, and most of the good shit happens on the 26th. The dichromatic red and green color scheme is broadened by the addition of black and/or yellow. And anyone playing "The Little Drummer Boy"--live or recorded--where other persons are forced to hear it without previously granting permission faces re-education.


I can't wait.

So I'm not. Yesterday I decorated my first ever official Maosday tree.


JK said...

We certainly agree about "the little drummer boy," my family used to torture me with it (in good humor, of course.)

Anonymous said...

Among the most repeated teachings of the Great Idealist ("Nothing is hard …if you dare to scale the heights") we also learn the Mass Line, from the masses to the masses. "The masses are the real heroes, while we ourselves are often childish and ignorant, and without this understanding, it is impossible to acquire even the most rudimentary knowledge." Or, in other word, Celebrate Kwanzaa, despite Ronald McKinley Everett's role as a police agent.