’Local Holidays’


Seth Brown

Three decades ago, a song titled "Do They Know It’s Christmas?" asked if people in Africa knew about Christmas. It’s a fair question, because although the holiday is ubiquitous in America and popular in many other countries as well, it may be less popular in Africa. Holidays are often regional; certainly Thanksgiving is very much an exclusively American holiday. Some holidays like Susan B. Anthony Day are only celebrated in a few states. And some holidays, especially these lesser-known but entirely real holidays during the summer months, are celebrated not even throughout the state, but primarily in my neighborhood in North Adams.

June 15: Family Awareness Day. To honor this holiday, parents stand on the porch and yell at their kids. The traditional response begins with "But Mooooooooom!" -- although modern practitioners are often less orthodox in their approach and may simply yell back at the parents. Either way, the parents continue to yell loudly at the children, until everyone in the neighborhood is definitely aware that there is a family there. Also, the children set off fireworks in the evening.

June 16: Ladies’ Day. While in other regions of the country this holiday largely focuses on baseball, in my neighborhood the holiday is celebrated by young men who walk up and down the street loudly talking about their appreciation of ladies. Admittedly, much of this appreciation includes unprintable language, but it does celebrate the desirability of ladies. Also, the young boys set off fireworks in the evening.

June 20: Flitch of Bacon Day and World Productivity Day. In old England’s tradition, a flitch of bacon was awarded to married couples who could swear that for the past year and a day, there was not once that they ever regretted being married. In New England’s tradition, married couples have been swearing at each other for a year and a day, with the woman often rewarding the man with the honorofic "pig" for his overenthusiastic appreciation of other ladies earlier in the week. Also, in honor of World Productivity Day, many explosions are produced through the lighting of fireworks.

June 23: Baby Boomer’s Recognition Day. A number of fireworks, or "little boomers," are set off throughout the afternoon and evening.

June 24: National Columnists Day. Although I didn’t expect any recognition of this important holiday from my neighbors, I was honored when they decided to set off fireworks right in front of my house, as if the entire display was for my benefit.

June 27: National Bomb Pop Day and PTSD Awareness Day. The Mr. Dingaling ice cream truck drives through selling the frozen delicacy known as the Bomb Pop, in various flavors. In the evening, other bombs pop, making people who have PTSD exceedingly aware.

June 29: America’s Kids Day. Why are children running amok through the streets swearing at each other and fighting; are there no parents to keep them in line? No, for these are America’s Kids! America apparently buys her kids lots of fireworks, which they set off.

July 2: World UFO Day. There is a bunch of unidentified firework output flying into the air just outside my window. I think some of that last one may have just landed on my roof.

July 4: Independence Day! To properly show patriotism, the American flag is flown almost everywhere. Various houses, outbuildings, and yards are decorated with red, white, and blue bunting. Bunting, as you know, comes from baseball, making it all the more patriotic. An assortment of dead cow products are charred. The traditional response begins with "But Mooooooooo!" There are no fireworks, because everyone has run out.

July 5: Discount Fireworks Day. This is celebrated by a local columnist slamming his head into his desk.

Seth Brown is an award-winning humor writer, the author of "From God To Verse," and heard yet more fireworks outside while writing this column. His website is RisingPun.com.


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