By Chris Paoli
As I sat down with my family this last Thursday for our
Thanksgiving dinner, there was an empty spot where my sister
usually sits. She was not participating in a holiday that’s origins
came from the “raping of the Native Americans.”
I do agree that the basis for the National holiday has a
negative aspect, however, I do not have a problem participating in
it because of what the day means to me: I see it as a day to sit
around with my family and eat. That’s it.
I understand that historically we have not been kind to those
that were in this country before us. I acknowledge the bloody
foundations in which the settlers founded this country on. However,
I do not relate these to the day in which I stay home from school
and work, and watch football with loved ones.
Here is the problem that arises every time a holiday comes up:
there are those that want to boycott and bring up the unfavorable
origins, even if, over time, the holiday has undergone a
transformation and has a different meaning.
Take Columbus Day, for example. There has been a rally on campus
by different organizations since I have been at Cal Poly denouncing
the holiday and man.
I am reminded of an episode of The Simpsons, where the town of
Springfield held an annual event for the founder of the town
Jebediah Springfield. Lisa finds out that the man was actually a
murderous pirate, but decides not to disclose this information
because the spirit of the fictitious man brought out the best in
Holidays are up for different individual’s interpretation.
Although I am Agnostic and leaning more towards Atheist, I still
enjoy celebrating Easter and Christmas because it is a chance for
my family to get together.
With regards to Christmas, the opposite phenomenon occurs. There
has been a huge transformation of the holiday from a religious
event to a more universal, commercial based day. With that comes
the backlash from religious groups trying to remind the masses of
the true basis for the holiday.
A Christian group has pressured Wal-Mart to replace greetings
and signs of the universal phrase Happy Holidays to Merry
Christmas. I see incidents like this destroying the true meaning of
the holidays more than commercialization because it is destroying
an individual’s right to interpret the holiday in any way he or she
With that notion, I also cannot discriminate against those who
do want to voice an opinion on why or why not a holiday should be
celebrated. It is their right and if that is how their version
plays out, then more power to them, as long as it does not prohibit
me from celebrating in the way I deem acceptable.
Not taking my own advice, I want to leave everyone with a
suggestion: remember, no matter what belief system you come from,
celebrate the most important aspect of this time of year: a month
off from school.
Chris Paoli can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
or by phone at (909) 869-3531.
Show Comments (0)