People come up to me on the street almost daily this time of year and it’s always the same old thing.
“Claymation Werewolf, I keep trying to go to Christmas parties and then, only after arriving, do I realize that the party is in fact actually for some fictional holiday that has no bearing on reality whatsoever!” “with everyone constantly using the code word HOLIDAY instead of Christmas, how can I possibly distinguish all these different celebrations. I want to get my Christmas groove on CW! My Christmas groove!!”
My response is usually pretty standard. As I remove their clenched hands from the lapels of my overcoat (an overcoat I might add that is far to classy and expensive to be touched by the sorts of people you run into outside of private clubs) My answer is this: “I’m workin’ on it!”
Well friends, the work (and the wait) is finally over! As a public service to all you Yuletide rump-shakers out there I have created a sort of field guide that should allow you to easily sort out one December holiday from another. I’ll give a short background on the holiday in question as well as what you might expect to see in regards to the party (and party-goers) associated with it.
*Note* I will not be discussing “Festivus” so all you hardcore Seinfeld fans can go ahead and add this blog to this year’s airing of grievances. = )
(Origin: Star Wars Episode “The Holiday Special”
Apparently beginning as a fake Thanksgiving this geek holiday was quickly transformed into a fake Christmas, and over the years has become probably one of the most famous Wookie holidays on the Wookie calendar.
Background: Celebrated every three years on the planet of Kashyyyk, Life Day celebrates life. The various and plentiful forms of life on the Wookie Planet itself as well as the lives of Wookies who have fallen that year. Also, the new lives that have been brought into the world (they sort of shoe-horn a lot of things in here…) Wookies gather at the Great Tree Of Life, arriving from all over the galaxy to exchange gifts and sing traditional Wookie life day carols. On Life Day it is also traditional to enjoy the musical stylings of the late great Beau Arthur and to produce and air animated shorts. Little is known about the origins of these two traditions but they add, in their own way, to the rich cultural significance of Life Day.
If you are invited to a Life Day party, there is a very strong chance that you are on the planet of Kashyyyk there is also a chance however that you are in the midst of HARDCORE Star Wars fans. Either way you will find yourself in an extremely uncomfortable situation with strange hairy beings using unintelligible grunting instead of speech. Your surroundings will be very alien and incomparable to those you might experience among “humans.“
The red robes however are stunning and people should really be listening to Beau Arthur music and producing animated shorts anyway so, it’s not all bad!
Origin: “The Hog Father” by Terry Pratchett
Hogs Watch is very difficult to distinguish from Christmas itself. There are traditional treats; cakes candies etc… Hogs Watch carols and of course a jolly toymaker who flies through the world, going down chimneys and delivering toys to all the good boys and girls.
The differences of course being that The Hog Father is a pig like being transformed from an ancient god of death and renewal who lives in a palace made of bones, who’s sleigh is pulled by four terrifying wild boars and who leaves the bad children bags of bloody bones.
If you stumble upon a Hogs Watch party try to go with the flow. It really is a beautiful holiday and the similarities with Christmas should make adapting to it fairly easy. A few helpful hints however will make your Hogs Watch, one to remember!
-Hogs Watch is December 32nd. So mark your calendars accordingly!
-Remember to leave out ALCOHOL (not milk!) as a worktime treat for the Hog Father and don’t forget turnips for his boars!
-… This man
Mr. Teatime (Pronounced: Teah tahmei) is NOT part of the traditional Hogs Watch celebration. He is in fact a extremely sociopathic member of the assassin’s guild. He has been hired to Kill the Hog Father (something he’s given a lot of thought to) He would kill you and anyone else around him that he doesn’t have any use for at the time. Do not approach him regardless of how much he sounds like Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka!
-Have fun! Hogs Watch is only once a year!
Yak Shaving Day
Origin: The Renn and Stimpy Show
Yak Shaving day is one of the most unique holidays on our calendar. Incorporating a series of seemingly nonsensical activities it can be a little hard to follow for those who have never been introduced to the customs.
On Yaksmas Eve, the Gilded Yak travels the world rewarding all of the good kids with gifts.
Other Yak Shaving Day traditions including hanging diapers on the wall and filling your uncle’s boot with coleslaw. You also set out shaving implements around your sink in the hopes that the Great Gilded Yak will find your sink the most sincere sink of all and have himself in it. Waking on Yak Shaving Day morning to a shink full of Yak Shaving Scum is the greatest Yak Shaving Day gift of all.
The Gratitude Festival
Origin: Star Trek Deep Space Nine
The Bajoran Gratitude festival is strange and mysterious even by the standards set on this list. While it is hundreds of years old very few people can tell you exactly what is involved. Through in-depth research here are some things that we have learned.
During the Bajoran Gratitude Festival, your troubles or “grievances” are written on papers (a tradition borrowed from festivus) and the papers are burned signifying you leaving your troubles behind (also, signifying a love of fire) to continue the merry pyromania, bateret leaves are also burned. This doesn’t signify anything at all, bateret leaves just burn real good.
They also get around to celebrating gratitude as everyone stands around being thankful after they burn stuff.
Only the bravest souls would dare stay in attendance at a Bajoran Gratitude Festival. The celebration relies so heavily on darkness, strange laser lights and smoky, smoky rooms, the holiday is really best summed up by the Three Dog Night song “Mamma Told Me Not To Come.” Light up those leaves and rolled up paper! And if you do decide to stay however make sure you always remember to pass the “gratitude!” Nobody likes a Bajoran Bogart man!!
Hearths Warming Eve
Origin: My Little Pony, Friendship Is Magic
Hearths Warming Eve revolves almost exclusively around the pageant. The play itself tells the story of the founding of Equestria as the vastly different groups The Earth Ponies, The Unicorns and The Pegasus’s learned to finally start working together in friendship.
As legend tells it, disharmony between the various pony groups summoned Wendeegos and caused the land of the Ponies to descend into cold and famine. Leaders of the three tribes journey to find land which can provide them with food and warmth. Their continued fighting on the journey eventually causes another attack by the wend egos and soon the three become litterally frozen. To try and keep warm, the three begin to talk abd laugh and eventually to sing. The harmony of their singing chases the windeegos away and eventually brings the three leaders and eventually the three groups together. The carols created on that night are still sung today.
To celebrate Hearths Warming Eve you need a very large party. A solid group of friends to help you act out the pageant and a much much larger group to serve as the audience. You’ll experience the Joy of the season, the magic of friendship and the glory of the stage!! I never attend a Hearths Warming Eve party without putting on my full body Fluttershy costume.
It isn’t an actual tradition of the holiday. It’s just something I enjoy.
The Festival of the Bells
Origin: Fraggle Rock
In the winter Fraggle Rock begins to slow down (whatever that means) and the Fraggles hold what the call The Festival of the Bells, in which they ring bells and celebrate to awaken the bell at the heart of Fraggle Rock and make sure it keeps moving.
They pay homage to the traditions of the day by dressing as Weebabeast the former gaurdians of the Great Bell back in the first days of the rock.
Despite the fact that a Festival of the Bells party will mean that you’re in a room full of Muppets, it won’t necessarily be a good time. The Fraggles as a people have a tendency to get a bit on the “heavy” side. Do you have any relatives that are those especially preachy kind of hippies? Yeah. It’s kind of like that. The trick is to try to keep the room in the singy dancy Kermit arms flailing kind of Muppet mood and keep it low on the message. One good tip is to make sure to invite a heavy contingent of Dozers and Gorgs. Those guys are a blast!
Also, don’t bother going on a brave and foolhardy quest to the heart of Fraggle Rock to prove (or disprove) the existence of The Great bell…it isn’t there. The bell in the heart of Fraggle Rock is in the heart of all of us and yadda yadda yadda…
And in the end we all learned an important lesson. Right?
Refrigerator day is really my kind of fake holiday. A day in honor of the storage and preservation of food is quite an idea. It’s creation allowed Dinosaurs to begin to set up permanent communities and no longer travel the world staying where good was plentiful and in-season.
This revolutionized Dinosaur society. In honor of the invention of the “keep it cold box” Dinosaurs celebrate with several time honored traditions.
Dinosaurs decorate their entire house for “fridge” day but pay special attention to the decoration of the Refrigerator itself. They exchange gifts, sing jolly Refrigerator Day carols to celebrate commercial products and have a Refrigerator Day feast, marking the end of the two day fast that leads up to the celebration. The center piece of the Refrigerator Day celebration is the annual pageant put on by each household where families revel in the warmth of the season by acting out the first Refrigerator day.
Refrigerator day is a family holiday and if you are invited to participate in the celebration you should consider yourself honored. Refrigerator is a day of peace, of spiritual contemplation and togetherness.
A triumph of the human (or dinosaur) spirit prevailing over hardships and finding the ability to discover such warmth during a holiday created to celebrate cold storage. A time to pay homage to the past, to appreciate what we have and to strengthen those bonds that hold us all together.
If you have a choice though, I’d skip the family party and head to the one at the department store. They have an orchestra and lasers!
And there you have it. I hope that this list will help you with your festive party planning this year. Maybe as a sort of cultural experimentation you can try to partake in the merryment of several of these parties after all this world won’t be hurt by all of us understanding each other just a little bit better. Just please, for the love of everything good in the world don’t accidentally stumble into a Fraggle Festival of the Bells in a My Little Pony costume! Those two groups absolutely HATE each other.
Merry Christmas Everybody!