“Festivus—the festival for the rest of us!” If you don’t recognize that phrase, then you clearly weren’t watching Seinfeld back in 1997, when Frank Costanza, George’s father, invented an all-new, fictional holiday. (If you’re interested in celebrating Festivus, know that it falls on December 23, so as to have “a leg up on Christmas,” says Frank.)
Of course, Festivus is just one of the purely fictional stand-ins for Christmas, Hanukkah, and other holidays you’ll find in your favorite books and movies and TV shows. So if you’re tired of IRL holidays this year, we’ve isolated our favorite fictional holidays from pop culture you can celebrate instead. So Happy Life Day, Star Wars buffs! And for more great holiday coverage, here are the 22 Worst Christmas Traditions That Should Be Retired.
The book version of the classic 1984 sci-fi flick The Last Starfighter, has Centauri— the lovable con man alien who recruits video game geek Alex Rogan for an intergalactic war—mentioning that All-Ether Day on Rylos is a holiday similar to Christmas on Earth. Oh, and speaking of Christmas, here are 6 Classic Christmas Movies You Can Experience In Real Life.
For all of you fans of the 1996 ABC TV series Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Bobunk was an eleven-day festival in September that Salem the cat reminisced about. It featured lots of liquor, hosannas for cats, loads of food, food with booze in it, and food in the shape of cats.
Kids’ PBS cartoon Arthur—which featured a glasses-wearing aardvark in third grade getting into scrapes and having adventures with his other animal friends—Buster Baxter, a white rabbit and best friends with Arthur, came up with this day to help his stressed out mom deal with the holidays. His solution is a day where they just hang out together and do whatever they want. Sounds pretty good, right? Now, we can’t create a holiday for you, but we can tell you the 25 Quick Ways to Bust Holiday Stress.
A common reimagining of Christmas and Hanukah for blended Christian and Jewish families in real life, this one has also been mentioned on many shows, including teen soap opera The O.C. The December 3, 2003, episode had Seth Cohen (Adam Brody) introducing the idea and throwing a party that featured all of the requisite drunken drama.
The Day of the Wheat
Lovable goofball Rose Nylund (Betty White) on ’80s sitcom The Golden Girls often rhapsodized about her native Minnesota town of St. Olaf and the odd quirks inhabitants enjoyed and the many interesting holidays. The Day of the Wheat was when all St. Olafians come into town dressed like sandwiches…. And speaking of food, if you’re partying a bunch this December, watch out for these 10 Unhealthy Holiday Finger Foods.
ALF (Alien Life Form), also known as Gordon Shumway, was a dog/pig-like alien from the planet Melmac and he explained on the November 14, 1988 episode of ALF that they have a holiday like Christmas combined with Thanksgiving where Melmacians put up a Fappiano tree with gifts underneath. But instead of turkey for the meal, they ate cats from the time they woke up until it was time to open their presents.
Probably one of the best known fake holidays for people of a certain age, Festivus was introduced on the 1997 episode called “The Strike.” It is celebrated by the Costanzas on December 23 and includes a dinner, an aluminum pole, and traditions like the Airing of Grievances and Feats of Strength, and the naming of easily explainable and common events as “Festivus miracles.”
In the animated show Futurama, all Earthicans in the 3000s celebrate Freedom Day where you can do whatever you want to show your freedom, which often involves nudity. Ignoring and hurting people is also OK, and the traditional chant goes like this: “Freedom, freedom, freedom, oy! Freedom, freedom, freedom, oy!” while doing a jumping Cossack-style dance.
Introduced on the much-maligned The Star Wars Holiday Special, this special day for Wookiees paid homage to the principles of their culture—like family, joy, and harmony—on the forested plant of Kashyyyk. Extended families would gather around the Tree of Life and celebrate.
Invented by writers for the sketch show TGS with Tracey Jordan on NBC hit sitcom 30 Rock, this fictional holiday is tied to a made-up religion called Verdukianism, and its main perk is that you always get to leave work early on this day to go to the movies. The religion also features a belief in the healing power of root beer and the ability to have up to nine wives—if at least two are male.
Ladies’ man Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) makes up this holiday on the show How I Met Your Mother when a sexual conquest tells him she’s not pregnant and therefore he’s not a dad. He starts making Not a Father’s Day merchandise like T-shirts and cards that become a hit (and are still available on online in real life).
Quahog Clam Day
Fictional Family Guy town Quahog, Rhode Island, has a special fair each year that’s known for its sideshow freak the Half-Man, Half-Clam, which turns out to be Sex and the City actress Kim Cattrall sitting Indian-style.
Odd, but much-missed, puppet dinosaur ABC sitcom Dinosaurs from the ’90s called their Christmas analogue holiday Refrigerator Day. On that special day, called Fridge Day for short, they celebrated the invention of the refrigerator with carols, decorations, and bonuses at work.
Another Futurama holiday, this one was made up by surly robot Bender when he wanted to get out of going to work. It debuted on “The Futurama Holiday Special” in November of 2010 and was dubbed the “holiest two weeks on the robot calendar.” Traditions include drinking, not working, doing the Robot dance, and lighting up eight beer bottles like candles.
Sadie Hawkins Day
This feared middle school dance tradition was actually invented by the old hillbilly comic strip called “Li’l Abner” in 1937 by cartoonist Al Capp. The premise of women asking men out for dates or to hit the dance floor became so popular in the comic that he made it an annual event, and the American culture at large has also adopted it.
One of many fake holidays that popped up on The Simpsons, this one was created by Principal Skinner so he could tempt Bart into pulling off Groundskeeper Willie’s kilt while explaining the habits and peculiarities of the Scottish people. Bart subsequently snatched the kilt and Willie was naked, leading to Bart getting three-months detention. Willie ended up crushed that it wasn’t a real event.
Beloved sci-fi TV show Firefly featured this day when the Unification War ended between the Union of Allied Planets and Independent Planets. It was a yearly celebration by all of the folks in The Verse, or universe, and often featured fights in bars by those not happy with the union. Firefly nerds in real life celebrate by watching the show with friends and family, but no one can agree on the proper date.
Weasel Stomping Day
Noted balladeer of the abnormal, “Weird” Al Yankovic came out with this rousing song celebrated a day to crush weasels underfoot in 2005 on his album Straight Outta Lynwood. Choice lyrics include:
“Put your Viking helmet on, Spread that mayonnaise on the lawn, Don’t you know it’s Weasel Stomping Day?” and “All the little girls and boys, Love that wonderful crunching noise, You’ll know what this day’s about, When you stomp a weasel’s guts right out.”
Classic Simpsons episode “Whacking Day” aired in 1993 and it put forth the fictional holiday where every year the citizens of Springfield would drive all of the local snakes into the middle of town and then beat them to death with clubs. Lisa grew horrified by the event and lured all of the snakes to safety by asking a just-happening-to-be-walking-by Barry White to sing “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe.”
Yak Shaving Day
In the genius gross-out cartoon The Ren & Stimpy Show, the unstable chihuahua Ren and the cat Stimpy celebrate this Christmas-like holiday, which features diaper hanging from the mantle, filling up rubber boots with coleslaw, and hoping to see the Shaven Yak floating by in the sky in his flying canoe. He can also be seen emerging from sink and tub drains.
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