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Monday, November 22, 2004

Happy Hallowhog!

It's amazing how, after two weeks of walking in freezing and sub-freezing temperatures, 42 degrees is suddenly uncomfortably warm. (It was 47 degrees Friday morning, but I didn't get around to mentioning that fact until now.)

A friend of mine and I invented the idea of Hallowhog over dinner a few years ago. We were talking about the way holidays are clustered in the Winter and tend to flow into each other, much like the cities along the Eastern seaboard of the U.S. from Boston to Washington, D.C. flow together into a continuous band of light pollution called the BosWash corridor. (As anyone who has flown from Logan to BWI at night can tell you, this corridor is more than just a conspiracy of cartographers*; it is an unbroken sea of orange light, the glow of all of the sodium vapor lights in all of the urban and suburban areas that form it.)

Hallowhog, unsurprisingly, begins with Halloween (October 31st) and ends with Groundhog Day (February 2nd). We toyed with the idea of pushing the date out to include Valentine's Day, which by rights should be a Spring holiday but is caught in the very ugliest part of Winter, but we decided Hallowhog sounded better than Hallowtine's. Hallowhog encompasses Halloween, the Day of the Dead, Election Day (not a holiday, but it should be one), Veterans/Remembrance/Armistice Day, the end of Ramadan, Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday in November), Advent, the Winter solstice, Hannukah, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day (everybody loves a good boxing match), Kwanzaa, New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, Russian (Orthodox) Christmas (it always snows on this day in Northeastern Pennsylvania!), college football Bowl season**, Twelfth Night, Epiphany, Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday, the Super Bowl, and Groundhog Day. (It also encompasses my friend's birthday and my birthday, which should each be major holidays - well, his already is, although it's ironic that the birthday of a teetotaller should fall on one of the two heaviest days of drinking on the calendar - the other, of course, being St. Patrick's Day.)

Hallowhog is a nice season because you have 25% of the year to celebrate it, and it's really hard to be late with cards. (If you're very late, it will actually count as being early for next year's Hallowhog.) Still, it's odd how much mental distance there is between the first two major parts of Hallowhog, Halloween and Thanksgiving. Even though the temporal distance between Halloween and Thanksgiving is about the same as the distance from Thanksgiving to Christmas, the first two holidays seem much farther from each other. Thanksgiving is seen as the beginning of the Christmas shopping and decorating season***, but it seems like Halloween is something best put away for next year as of November 1st. Christmas decorations, on the other hand, should be left up until at least the Super Bowl, if not later.

As we enter its fourth week, let me be the first to wish each and every one of you a Happy Hallowhog!

* See Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

**If you're from outside the U.S., please don't ask me to explain what college football Bowl season is. Almost any other American has a better grasp of this concept than I do.

***At least, this used to be true. A few years ago I saw a display of Christmas ornaments in a major department store one week after the first day of Fall - just eight days previously, it had been Summer. Now most stores have Christmas displays up in mid-October, and many cities do their Christmas decorating in mid-November. I'm proud to say that Nanticoke still doesn't have its Christmas decorations adorning Main Street yet, although this may be less a case of traditionalism and more a case of poor planning or lack of funds.

5 comments:

siobhan said...

Greetings and Happy Hallowhog to you!

A celebration that is dear to our hearts in the Southern Tier was left off your list. Festivus for the rest of us. A feast is prepared and as we all gather around the table the Pole of Disappointment is handed to the guest of honor. The individual recalls what a lousy year it was and his/her disappointments. It is then passed on to the next person and so on. The celebration also involves "Feats of Strengths". A ritual performed somewhat similar to the sumos.
It is certainly grand the Castanzas brought this celebration to the forefront of American holidays.

Anonymous said...

that's funny dude, didnt i make you watch rosencrantz? i thought i mentioned it to you and you had never seen it? oh and aqua teen, now you're all cool with your aqthf and rosencrantz and guildenstern.
your movie with val kilmer was on all weekend on comedy central.

Anonymous said...

that's funny dude, didnt i make you watch rosencrantz? i thought i mentioned it to you and you had never seen it? oh and aqua teen, now you're all cool with your aqthf and rosencrantz and guildenstern.
your movie with val kilmer was on all weekend on comedy central.
-dude

D.B. Echo said...

Nope, Dude, you can't take credit for me watching Rosencrantz - that was another friend of mine, over 10 years ago, I think. You got me to watch The Big Lebowski, and pushed me in the direction of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, though.

D.B. Echo said...

And Real Genius just makes me sad these days to realize just how far I am from that world. It's still there, I'm just way outside of it now. Cripes, Val Kilmer is playing Alexander the Great's FATHER now. Time marches on...