Back in the Pleistocene Age (or, at least, the late 20th Century) when I was a third grade teacher, we would do these class social studies units on topics like “communities” or “cultures”… And we would invariably get to talking about “celebrations around the world,” making it necessary to do some kind of craft activity that involved the weaving of paper placemats or the eating of appetizers of international origin.
I laugh about it now, but the truth is that always liked these units. They were fun. And, besides, I have a fondness for tapas.
But one of my favorite activities was the reading of Byrd Baylor and Peter Parnall’s children’s book, I’m in Charge of Celebrations (http://tinyurl.com/42bz5qj). The girl narrating the story has a deep love for her desert environment, and she’s come up with a number of special personal celebrations based her experiences living there. There’s “Dust Devil Day” and “The Time of the Falling Stars” and a bunch of other interesting and clever events that she uses to mark her year. Basically, she’s created days no one would ever find on a standard calendar, but she’s highlighted those singular moments of joy — the kind felt in the privacy of one’s heart — and, if it were possible to create a Hallmark holiday card just for them, we all would.
I always made my students come up with their own special celebration as an accompanying class project, but that was as much for me as it was for them. I still think back on days from my childhood and teen years that were memorable enough to warrant their own celebration in my world. And, as an adult, I have a number of them, too.
I started writing my first novel in August of 2000, and that personal little holiday of mine is coming up next week. It was important to me not just because I was finally writing the first draft a book, but because I knew I’d made a commitment to the task. So, my celebration is not actually focused on the writing but, rather, on the determination and the resolve of that moment.
There are other special dates, too. Dates I’m certain no one but me celebrates — at least not for the reason I’m pausing to honor it. But that doesn’t make them any less important to me than other favorite holidays, like my son’s birthday or Christmas or (because I think the Bill Murray film is hilarious and have to watch it every year) Groundhog’s Day.
What about you? Do you have personal celebrations in addition to the national holidays and traditional birthdays or anniversaries? Or, if you could make up a day of celebration, what would it be for?? (I would have thought up National Ice Cream Day, but we actually already have that on the 3rd Sunday of July…and, believe me, I celebrated!)
I’ll give away an According to Jane (http://tinyurl.com/3eufueb) tote bag, an On Any Given Sundae (http://tinyurl.com/3thfm7o)
t-shirt and a sturdy pair of A Summer in Europe (http://tinyurl.com/3qk8nt8) luggage tags to one commenter. I’ll randomly draw a winner’s name on Sunday afternoon. Good luck ;).