Robert Slipkovich Expository Writing Dr.

Pinsky September 11, 2010 Holiday Essay After reading the various essays about holidays, it is quite clear to see that holidays are a time of celebration and fun. Major holidays are most often attributed to large quantities of food, expensive gifts, and a feeling of regret after eating “too much”. The truth about holidays is that they are a time to bring people together and share a common purpose. As noted in the Paz essay, Mexican citizens have fiestas very frequently throughout the year. These fiestas are a time to take a break from the daily rigors of work and let loose. Although they happen quite frequently, the Mexican fiestas are most notably attributed to low income that the Mexican people earn. By putting their economic hardships aside, the fiesta is a way to “live for the moment” and have fun while doing so. Attempting to explain Santa Claus, “Six to Eight Black Men”, focuses on the cultural difference of Old Saint Nick. This essay also focuses on holidays and gives explanation of various cultural impacts that are attributed to these times of celebration. Sedaris explains the notion that Santa Claus is much different and violent throughout Dutch culture. As Americans, children are often given expensive gifts during Christmas from Santa. On the other hand, Dutch children are threatened to either behave or be sent to Spain with the more racial and violent Santa. The “polar” opposite difference between an American and a Dutch Santa is hard to fathom. Cultural influences and religion have a say in what defines the character and appearance of Santa; whether it is good or bad. Holidays focus on many factors. Whether it is an important figure that should be remembered, or if it is when the Pilgrims had a fictional Thanksgiving feast with the native Americans. In essence, holidays boil down to strong morals and righteous. Holidays that are based on the actions of a

prominent historical figure such as President's Day or Martin Luther King Jr. Day focus on the good nature and righteous beliefs that were attributed to the people who are attributed that a holiday. On the subject of morals, Independence Day is quite notable. After Americans stood up to the unjust British; the holiday is now celebrated by a barrage of fireworks and other explosives in order to patronize the notion of Democracy. Holidays highlight the social rules of society by focusing on events that demonstrate character and strong morals, as previously noted. These days are often the fibers that weave into American Democracy and showcase the value system that is upheld in this country. A holiday plays on the emotions of Americans in order to let them reflect on the trials and tribulations that have been a precedent in history. These holidays, although debunked by Loewen, are supposed to give Americans a sense of pride by the behavior and good nature of prominent figures of the past. If a holiday was not attributed to plight or adversity of an individual or group, it is quite unlikely that it would be celebrated on a large scale. A quasi-holiday that is interesting to the American society is New Years Eve. This is the last night of the calendar year and is noted for a crystal ball dropping in Time's Square, fireworks, and one last “big” meal before the famous “New Year's resolution” kicks in. What is special about this day is that it is a time for realization and reflection. Television crews spend time highlighting the events of the year while people remember what made the year memorable and what they want to change. Thousands gather throughout the world to mark the new year and hope that prosperity and good fortune occur. However, there is no groundbreaking difference between a new and an old year. Maybe it's the notion that 2010 is a time to finally get that gym membership, eat healthy, and do a better job at work. Does the changing of a calendar year really need to be the rude awakening to change oneself? Whether a holiday has a foundation in history, religion, or the accomplishment of someone great, holidays are an interesting and important part of life. Without holidays, weekends and informal “holidays” would be the only break within the working cycle. As noted throughout the readings,

holidays can be myths, times of reflection, and even celebrations of the past. What is truly remarkable is how holidays have withstood the test of time and have had minimal change throughout history. Life is simply not the same without these certain days of the year.