Festivus is held on December 23 each year. In a 1997 episode of the popular television comedy, Seinfeld, Festivus was brought to the masses when Frank Costanza (played by Jerry Stiller) explains he invented Festivus in response to the commercialism of Christmas. Its slogan is “A Festivus for the rest of us.”
Seinfeld Scriptwriter Dan O’Keefe’s family had been celebrating their idea of Festivus since 1966. The holiday became part of popular culture when he introduced it in a 1997 episode of the comedy sitcom, Seinfeld. The holiday’s celebration, as it was shown on Seinfeld, includes a Festivus dinner, an aluminum “Festivus pole,” practices such as the “Airing of Grievances” and “Feats of Strength,” and the labeling of easily explainable events as “Festivus miracles.”
Festivus traditions derived from the television episode and the original creator have been combined over the years.
- The Festivus pole is an unadorned aluminum pole displayed in the home. In the O’Keefe household, there was no Festivus pole, but instead, a clock was placed in a bag and nailed to the wall.
- Festivus dinner is served during the evening. Find “red” food such as spaghetti and meatballs or meatloaf. Traditionally the meal should be rich and red. Even spaghettios would work in a pinch. Side dishes can include tuna on toast, turkey chili, airline peanuts and pretzels. The menu is not set in stone, but alcohol is recommended.
- The Airing of Grievances occurs during Festivus dinner. Each person takes turns describing how the others have disappointed him or her over the past year.
- Feats of Strength follows dinner and involves wrestling the head of the household. The holiday is not complete unless the head of the household is pinned. Failure to pin the head of the household could result in perpetual Festivus.
- A Festivus Miracle is a frequent if unimpressive miracle. Carrying in all the groceries into the house for Festivus Dinner without tripping or dropping one of the bags could be considered a Festivus Miracle.
Festivus Song by Danny Lutz
Festivus Song by Brett Houston