State Capitols Celebrate the Real Gem of the Holiday Season: Festivus

It’s the holiday for Florida, Wisconsin, and the rest of us.

A Festivus celebration in Adams Morgan, Washington.
National Journal
Matt Berman
Dec. 9, 2013, 10:44 a.m.

It’s nearly Fest­ivus! And to cel­eb­rate, at least a couple state cap­it­ols are get­ting ready to take out the poles and air the griev­ances.

What is Fest­ivus, ex­actly? Fest­ivus is the, ori­gin­ally fic­tion­al, “Fest­ivus for the Restivus” cre­ated by Frank Cost­anza in a 1997 epis­ode of Sein­feld. As le­gend has it, Cost­anza cre­ated the hol­i­day when he failed to ac­quire a doll for his son George when he was a child. It’s cel­eb­rated on Dec. 23 by “gath­er­ing your fam­ily around and telling them all the ways they have dis­ap­poin­ted you in the last year,” a prac­tice more form­ally re­ferred to as “the air­ing of the griev­ances.” In­stead of a tree, there is a bare alu­min­um pole to rally around. The hol­i­day also fea­tures feats of strength, when the head of the house­hold chal­lenges someone else to a wrest­ling match.

The Wis­con­sin and Flor­ida state cap­it­ols will both have Fest­ivus poles on dis­play this hol­i­day sea­son. In Wis­con­sin, a sil­ver pole is already stand­ing between two nativ­ity scenes in the packed ro­tunda. A sign hangs on the pole prom­ising an air­ing of the griev­ances on the 23rd, but no feats of strength “due to li­ab­il­ity is­sues.”

In Flor­ida, where a stand­ard Fest­ivus pole wouldn’t quite be ap­pro­pri­ately weird enough, a nearly 6-foot-tall poll made out of empty PBR cans will go up this week in the Cap­it­ol build­ing. The pole will be on the same floor of the ro­tunda as the more stand­ard nativ­ity scene that’s been up since last week. Chaz Stevens, who was the Flor­ida res­id­ent to ap­ply to put up the Fest­ivus dis­play, says that he con­siders it his “ri­dicu­lous state­ment versus what I con­sider, as an athe­ist, as their ri­dicu­lous state­ment.”

Amer­ica: where free­dom of re­li­gion means stuff­ing a cramped ro­tunda for a week or so with a di­orama on the birth of Je­sus and a stack of empty beer cans. Or, well, at least that’s the case in Flor­ida.

In the war on Christ­mas, Ha­nukkah, and the gen­er­al hol­i­day sea­son, Fest­ivus al­ways wins.

MOST READ
What We're Following See More »
1.5 MILLION MORE TUNED IN FOR TRUMP
More People Watched Trump’s Acceptance Speech
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

Hillary Clinton hopes that television ratings for the candidates' acceptance speeches at their respective conventions aren't foreshadowing of similar results at the polls in November. Preliminary results from the networks and cable channels show that 34.9 million people tuned in for Donald Trump's acceptance speech while 33.3 million watched Clinton accept the Democratic nomination. However, it is still possible that the numbers are closer than these ratings suggest: the numbers don't include ratings from PBS or CSPAN, which tend to attract more Democratic viewers.

Source:
×