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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Graymansnight and Other Holidays

What is a holiday? Etymology clearly spells out "holy day," which explains how they originated. In ancient times they were times of celebration and commemoration. I'm sure I'm not alone in that I have several "made-up" holidays that have come about over the years to celebrate or commemorate.
Obviously, everyone has his or her own birthday to celebrate each year, and most of the time you won't meet anyone who shares that day (I have, a fellow I met while in Brazil, in fact), and anniversaries are universal as well. But what about days on which something great happened, or a day that you just wanted to remember for years to come? Here are all the holidays I can think of that have meant something over the years.

June 14 - Mud Day

This one came entirely on purpose. During summer vacation of 2001ish, I decided I wanted to make up a holiday. So I came up with Mud Day. Basically all I did to commemorate this makeshift holiday was make a mud puddle and play in it for a couple of hours. But I did make a little mud sculpture to remember the day. When it dried and I tried to pick it up it crumbled, so I just kept a little dirt clod in a box for a few years. I celebrated Mud Day once more the next summer, and then promptly forgot about it.

December 6 - Pink Day

I hesitate to even mention my eighth grade year, because I was at the sappiest, weirdest, and most awkward stage of my life; however, for the sake of nostalgia, I shall elaborate. There was a girl I was obsessed with in eighth grade, a cheerleader, and it was one of those things where I had no basis for liking her other than hormones. My friends and I, for whatever reason, came up with a system of colors to describe our mood. My journal preserved these, but red was anger, green was jealousy, yellow was excitement, and so on. Pink was happiness. On December 6, 2002, I was sitting alone at lunch like usual, and all the other tables were full. The cheerleaders got their hot lunch and had no choice but to sit at mine. They largely ignored me, and I them, but I bet I was blushing something furious, because inside I couldn't believe fate had smiled on me so. I remember being so amazed at this occurence that I kept a scrap of my paper lunch bag from that day as a souvineer of divine favor. I obviously never commemorated that day again, since a year later that girl was history, but because it made such an impact on me that day not a December 6 goes by that I'm not reminded of my poor, pathetic junior high self, and the pinkness that I experienced that day.

??? - Graymansnight

One day sometime in November or December of 2006, my three best friends (later named the Gray Brothers, after this day) and I went to a park in our town at night. We made a small fire, and our discussions turned to how scary the things were around us. The trees were all dead and devoid of leaves, the cloudy moon was out, there was even a ragged tire swing nearby. We talked about horror movies in general, and I talked about how what made something scary was mystery. A vague name like the Gray Man, I said, would be really scary (I think that in itself came from the Grey Lady, the name of various legendary ghosts). We started telling scary hypothetical scenarios about the campsite around us. About one of us disappearing, then showing up hanged from the branches of a nearby tree... Sounds of gruff whispering... shadows in the moonlight...
One of my friends was the first to chicken out, and since he was the driver, we left. But even after going to another friend's house we enjoyed taking creepy pictures that day. It was a day of bonding, and now that we have separated ways since high school we think of it as a time when we were the closest as a Gray Brotherhood.
I have since considered using the name of this holiday as an alternative to Halloween in a fantasy book or something. I just wish we had recorded which day of the year it was..

June 22 - Yearly Journal Day

I've always been a good journal-writer. I've kept a consistent journal since 2002, and before that I had several part-time journals that I kept from grade school and middle school, and even one or two summer journals. As mentioned before, I was extremely sappy in eighth grade, and because of this the journal for that year is full of uninteresting material I needed to write down just to get out of my system, rather than read again. Towards the end of that journal, when I was probably a sophomore in high school, even I realized what I had done was mostly record my reputation as a girl-crazy hormonal intrapubescent. I bought a new journal when the other one was incomplete, and perhaps in an effort to show that I really did grow up, I've since written a one-page entry each year in that journal, on the anniversary of my final entry. It has been interesting to see how each year something monumental has happened: I went through school, graduated, went on my two-year crusade, began dating for the first time, married, got pregnant, had a child, and now this year I have a new child on the way to look forward to writing. A yearly journal is an interesting thing—it really shows you how fast time goes on a yearly basis.

May 6 - Dia da Bahia

I served in the Brazilian state of Bahia during my crusade, and I returned home on May 6, 2010. While I prepare and eat Brazilian meals consistently throughout the year, I always make a special effort to celebrate the culture I learned to love on the day I returned home from it. Popular choices for food are pão de queijo, feijoada with farofa, and guaraná soda.

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Holidays bring traditions, and traditions bring social closeness and, well, fun! Share any of your own personal holidays in the comments below.

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