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Festivus is a secular holiday created by Daniel O'Keefe in the 1960s. O'Keefe celebrated the holiday with his family and it evolved over the course of several years to include new and different traditions. Festivus is often celebrated as an inclusive or anti-commercial marking of the holiday season.
Broader awareness of Festivus was borne out of its inclusion in an episode of the television series Seinfeld. A phrase from the O'Keefe family celebrations ("A Festivus for the rest of us") was popularized by the episode and has made its way into the vernacular of Festivus celebrants. The holiday is celebrated by individuals worldwide and is not restricted to the Seinfeld fandom.
The O'Keefe Family Festivus
The original Festivus, as celebrated by the O'Keefe family, featured many of the traditions associated with modern Festivus observances. The Festivus celebration consisted of the Festivus Dinner, the Airing of Grievances, and the Feats of Strength.
The traditional Festivus dinner often consists of spaghetti, meatloaf, or another dish in a red sauce. Typically alcohol is not served along with the dinner.
Airing of Grievances
Immediately following dinner comes the Airing of Grievances. This is the opportunity for each guest to inform those present of all the ways they have disappointed them over the course of the past year. During some of the O'Keefe family Festivus celebrations, the Airing of Grievances was done into a tape recorder. The family still retains some of the tapes.
Feats of Strength
Following the Airing of Grievances, wrestling matches were often held among Daniel O'Keefe's sons.
Seinfeld Episode: The Strike
Daniel O'Keefe's son, Dan, was a writer on the television show Seinfeld. It was his own experiences with his family holiday that led to its inclusion in the episode "The Strike" in 1997. While some of the family traditions were retained by the fictional Costanza family, traditions were added and expanded. These traditions have largely been included in modern celebrations of the holiday by fans.
The Festivus Miracle
The labeling of otherwise mundane occurrences as "Festivus Miracles" by Cosmo Kramer led to the tradition of doing so during Festivus. The phrase "It's a Festivus Miracle!" is even used year-round by some to describe events that are otherwise ordinary.
The Festivus Pole
Instead of a Christmas tree, the Festivus celebration on Seinfeld featured a Festivus Pole. A sharp contrast to the highly decorative symbols of other December holidays, the Festivus pole is typically an unadorned aluminum pole.
Festivids is an annual fannish vid exchange held each December.
Happy Festivus - A Festivus resource site