On Easter Sunday I was driving home from a camping trip, traveling directly past my family’s festivities in honor of the day on my way. We were skipping it this year, and I was thinking about talking with my wife about dis-including Easter from our holiday calendar permanently. As a father, I am not particularly interested in perpetuating the strange mythology of the Easter Bunny, and as someone who is not a Christian there was no spiritual significance either.
My thoughts drifted on and I began to question why, as non-Christians, we had appropriated only Christian holy days. Easter and Christmas are the only two religion-affiliated holidays we observe, though we do so secularly, but why?
The answer is really just that we grew up celebrating them. I like Christmas too, so we’ll keep celebrating that one, but what else? There’s 12 months a year, why are we only celebrating two holidays anyway? So, I looked to the mighty oracle Google to discover what other holy days there were to take on and how to celebrate them secularly. Thusly, I present to you the official holidays of The Church of Black Coffee for the remainder of 2018!
April 14th: Vaisakhi: Punjabi Spring Harvest/Solar New Year
I don’t understand the January 1st New Year, it’s miserable! A spring new year makes way more sense, and this one from the Punjab is at the optimal flowers blooming, birds singing, and bees buzzing time of the year. I’ll be spending the day out in the garden, and celebrating with family and friends that evening with a decent fruit and vegetable rich meal.
May 1st: Lailat al Bara’ah: Islam Night of Forgiveness
This is the night that many followers of Islam pray for the forgiveness of their loved ones. I already forgive all my dead friends and families, but on this day I’ll be sure to tell stories about them, and try to visit at least one or two graves to say hello.
June 11th: Laylat al Kadr: Night of Power
This holiest of nights for Muslim people commemorates the revealing of the Quran to the prophet Muhammed, a book that begins with the command “Read!” This will be a day that celebrates reading in general, with gifts of books to friends and family. It also so happens that I am not particularly familiar with the Quran, so I will make it a point to begin reading it on this day.
July 27th: Dharma Day: The Buddha’s First Lecture
After achieving enlightenment Siddhartha Gautama felt the overwhelming urge to share his newfound understanding of the universe. While often rendered as an oversimplified version of itself in the West, Buddhism does espouse the benefit of rejecting materialism, and fosters the idea that events in the world are often of much less significance then we give them. This will be a day of quiet breathing, of forgiving myself and others, and of relaxing. I anticipate a hammock being involved at some point.
August 15th: Assumption of Mary: The Rise of Mary into Heaven
Mother Mary wouldn’t suffer such a pedestrian triviality as death! The mother of The Son was assumed bodily into heaven on this day in 41 CE, a Thursday according to Google. The Christians celebrate this day with a feast, and I don’t see a way to improve on that, so a feast it will be.
September 3rd: Labor Day
This holiday has been deprived of celebration for many decades. Now it serves simply as a stopping point for Summer’s fun. No longer! The Church of Black Coffee will bring back the true observation of this holiday by reflecting on the fruits of organized labor, such as the minimum wage, or the weekend. If there is a picket line within 50 miles on this day, we will join it. If not, we will use social media, and perhaps go out into society itself, to remind others of what is made possible when the labor force takes a stand against the oligarchy.
October 1st: International Coffee Day
While the Church of Black Coffee does not usually tolerate international days of any kind, we’ll have to make an exception here. On this day we will indulge in coffee, of course, but we will also be mindful of the origin of our coffee, remembering the resources necessary to producing it, and reaffirming our commitment to buying only sustainable, fair trade, shade grown beans. There will be much jittering on this day, that can be assured.
November 7th: Diwali: The Festival of Lights
While the word means ‘a row of lanterns’, for followers Hinduism, Jainism, Diwali is the celebration of good over evil! In the Hindu tradition it celebrates Rama’s defeat of king Ravana, and so Rama’s return to his kingdom. On this day I will act to achieve some good in the world, be it volunteering at a local food bank, or writing a persuasive letter to a senator or representative. I also know that there are celebrations of Diwali that are open to the public, so I’ll be seeking one to participate in.
December 25th: Christmas
I like this one. I think putting a tree in your house is hilarious, I like getting up early and drinking coffee while the kid plays with the new toys. It’s great. In the spirit of the holiday, and specifically the Sermon on the Mount, I will also demonstrate kindness to the less fortunate around this day, be it in donating toys and clothes or volunteering hours.
So that’s it! Not a huge spread really, but its a start. The 2019 holiday calendar will come out in December of this year. If you have ideas on what holidays to celebrate next year, please let me know!