Monday, February 29, 2016


Every month needs a holiday. Maybe I really mean that I need a holiday every month, but the months themselves need something to keep us all looking forward to.

Each month has its own personality. January is cold, but it's a fresh start. February is the short month. March is basketball tournaments and Spring around the corner. April rains a lot and kind of mushes into May. May is the end of school. June is kind of July's little brother. July is the king of summer with the heat and patriotism and parades, but June is not quite as hot as July, and kids are sometimes still in school, depending on where you live. August is when you realize the summer is almost over and you have to hurry to get in everything you thought you were going to do and then suddenly school is starting again. September is that cool edge to the air and football starting up again. October is leaves falling and having costume parties. November is finding the heavier coat instead of just a light jacket and planning for all the family parties to come. December is snow and presents and all those parties we've been looking forward to.

Many months have a holiday, but not all of them do. Some even have two.
  • January has New Years Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • February has Presidents Day
  • March sometimes has Easter but not always
  • April rotates with March for Easter, but otherwise not much
  • May has Memorial Day, marking the beginning of summer
  • June has nothing
  • July has Independence Day - the big summer peak
  • August has nothing (but you can go to the beach every day)
  • September has Labor day, marking the end of summer
  • October has nothing
  • November has Thanksgiving
  • December has Christmas
Now, it's not that every month doesn't actually have holidays. March sometimes has Mardi Gras (alternates with February) which is big some places (Louisiana and Brazil) but not most places. March also has St. Patrick's Day, June has Flag Day, August has um...okay still nothing, and October has Columbus Day and Halloween.

But those are second and third tier holidays. The first tier holidays are the ones where everything is closed. Retail stores are always open, but that's a problem with the retail stores, not with the holidays themselves. Easter is in a strange boat, because it changes with the phases of the moon (literally - first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox), but the biggest part is that it's always on Sunday. So while personally I put it as one of the two most important holidays (with Christmas), there's no day off that is associated with it.

Columbus Day is a federal holiday, meaning no one gets it off except banks and the post office, and it's just a reason for a history lesson. Halloween is nice because you can wear a costume to work and there's candy, but it makes the second tier list because you still have to work.

So first tier holidays are ones where businesses close down, second tier holidays are ones where you have to go to work but there are fun parties and activities so no one is really working anyway, and third tier holidays are ones where everyone still goes to work and school and there is some type of educational component (Flag, Columbus). If you want to go fourth tier, it's the honorary days like secretaries day, grandparents day, medieval French literature day, and sushi day, which are more of a footnote than anything.

What we need is to bump up some of the second and third tier holidays to first tier holidays, and a few times a year there should be a platinum tier holiday that everyone gets off, including the retail workers who normally get hosed by having to work. Leap Day is a day salaried employees should not have to work (since you don't get paid extra for it...think about it).

  • January - New Years Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • February - Presidents Day and Leap Day (every four years)
  • March - Fast Day (Platinum)
  • April - Tax Day
  • May - Memorial Day
  • June - Summer Solstice
  • July - Independence Day (Platinum)
  • August - Hawaii Day
  • September - Labor Day
  • October - Halloween
  • November - Thanksgiving
  • December - Christmas (Platinum)
Fast Day, as part of Lent, would be a day to do service, sacrifice, and donate to the poor. This could be combined with St. Patrick's Day as it fits well with the story of his life in several ways. The only downside would be its reputation as an indulgent holiday so it would need a makeover. It might make sense to have Fast Day in April. I like the connection to Lent, but doing it a little later into April would possibly make it a better day for getting outside and cleaning up neighborhoods. It could be a good connection to Tax Day, for those getting big tax returns if you want to get donations out of it.

Summer Solstice makes more sense than Flag Day in June, since Flag Day is just like Independence Day Lite. July 4 is flags but also cookouts and parades and fireworks - a super-sized Flag Day. We also beat the aliens that day. That said, Summer Solstice could be seen as Memorial Day Lite as well, since it's the start of summer, but usually Memorial Day is the de facto start of summer (a few weeks early). I don't know. June is a tough one. Perhaps Take A Hike Day, where people would participate in outdoor activities, races, walks, etc.

Hawaii's statehood day is in August, and I think it's a good one to expand to the whole country. Who doesn't like Hawaii? Being in August right before school starts, it would be a good day to go to the beach. It could also be expanded to a First Nations or Indigenous Peoples or Native Americans Day. With some controversy around how Native Hawaiians and other Native Americans have been marginalized, it would be a good day to celebrate those who were here before we were. There are movements to turn Columbus Day into such a day, but tying it to that to me sounds more like a slam against Columbus than a true celebration of native peoples, so it should be established independently to avoid that baggage.

Halloween gets its official bump up to tier one from tier two, where it belongs.

What am I missing? What other platinum tier holidays should we give to the retail workers? What do we do with June?