I make the mistake every year of thinking the breakneck party pace is going to slow after New Years Day.
Every year I am wrong!
The new year actually marks the beginning of the party season, and that season lasts . . . well forever, as far as I can tell. I mean, we’ve barelyÂ cleaned all the confetti out of our hair and forced the echoes of Auld Lang Syne out of our ears when the next party in a long line of celebrations is upon us.
Now, I’m not really complainingÂ (at least no more than isÂ necessary for comic effect). But I do wonder if this is an indication that our lives are so empty we feel a need to fill them withÂ more and moreÂ instances of elation, or if in fact, we are just the rocking, party animal species we think we are.
In the US, weÂ typically begin the year with a huge party, which is not so unusual. New Years celebrations are worldwide. However, we thenÂ segue immediatelyÂ into Martin Luther King Jr. Day to celebrate the people andÂ accomplishments of the Civil Rights movement. That celebration then transitions to aÂ celebrationÂ related toÂ a professional football game and all the attendant hype — not to mention the commercial ads that go along with it.Â Are our lives so tedious and glum that we cannot even goÂ one month without a celebration?
Well, that seems a fair question, but it’s worse than that.
After January, the parties come at a clip of two, sometimes three a month, if not more. The entire month of February is Black History month, and though I’m not black, I do not discriminate; and I especially do not discriminate when it comes to a celebration. Let the good times roll!
Also, though I can honestly say that I’ve never been to a Groundhog Day party, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the old, “Hey, you gotta go to the happy hour after work today. It’s Groundhog Day, man.”
Actually, I can tell you how many times I’ve heard that: Two. But I take those twoÂ instances to mean that some people somewhere are in fact celebrating Groundhog Day. After all, it is one of many traditions thatÂ define us as a species, and it demands to be recognized.Â We cannot overstate enough the importance of some rodent seeing its shadow.
Groundhog Day then gives way to St. Valentine’s Day. And Valentine’s Day, where not traditionally a huge party day, is nonetheless a day we are required by societal norms to celebrate. Not only must we take every opportunity to show the world we are happy by celebrating nonstop, we must also take every opportunity to show the world we are in love. It’s not enough to be kind and loving to our partners everyday because it’s howÂ we feel and because that’s the way human beings should treat each other, but weÂ get toÂ let fine restaurants, greeting card companies, florists, jewelery stores,Â and candy shopsÂ beÂ a part of our love, too. EveryoneÂ is in on our loveÂ celebration.
And it’s a good thing we have those significant others in our lives, because Mardi Gras is upon us after Valentine’s Day, and if we observe Mardi Gras the way it was intended to be observed, there’s a good chance we’re going to need someone close to us to raise enough money to bail us out of jail, because unfortunately, we can’t count on fine restaurants, greeting card companies, florists, jewelery stores,Â and candy shops to show us any love in that situation.
But even if our significant others leave us in jail to continue collecting beads, we might just have enough time to recuperate before St. Patrick’s Day.
St. Patrick’s Day, as you no doubt know, is one of the drinking-est, most raucous days of the year. That it falls so soon after the February celebrations is bad enough, but in the US it usually comes the week before, if not the week of, March Madness. And no self-respecting basketball fan would refuse to pony up for a few pitchers at the local sports bar, no matter how much green beer or Irish whiskey he or she drank the day before.
Shortly thereafter, baseball season begins, and we have to celebrate opening day with parades and barbecues and festivals. After all, there are only 162 games in the season. It’ll be over before we know it, so let the party begin now. (I’m still not sure the Opening Day celebrations aren’t just residual pranks left over from April Fools Day with floats left over from Presidents Day, Mardi Gras,Â and MLK Day.)
Earth Day is a few short days later, and how could anyone one of us live with ourselves if we didn’t show how happy we are to have a planet on which to live. It certainly beats the alternative, so for one day we are conscious of the fragile eco-systems around us, even if we are oblivious to the fragile livers within our bodies.
There are a million different Easter celebrations in March/April as well. With the low, harmonic strains of hippie songs on Earth Day still hanging in the air, we eat, drink, parade, hunt eggs, and end Lent for the entire Easter weekend. It’s a party that takes us all the way to Arbor Day.
And the celebration beat goes on and on, right into May and beyond.
Today it’s Cinco de Mayo, a day commemorating the “Batalla de Puebla”, a battle won by the Mexican Army over the French. We are so celebration hungry in the US that we celebrate holidays from other countries. Boy I can hardly wait for Bastille Day . . .Â Oh, and the ever-popular Tag der Deutschen Einheit.
But though I may seemÂ somewhat gruff about it, I keep going back for more and more. I’m celebrating Cinco de Mayo tonight, and I’ll observe Memorial day, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, July Fourth, Labor Day and everything else between now and New Year’s Eve. I’ll even raise a toast on the more obscure holidays and all the birthday, anniversary, and festival celebrations in between.
The modern party calendar simply does not allow us to be alone and miserable, and I guess I’m okay with that.
In the immortal words of Cool and the Gang: “There’s a party goin’ on right here, A celebration to last throughout the years.”
And it just never ends.