I’m going to try to illustrate what I mean with a couple of examples. In all honesty they are of trivial concern, especially in view of the major world and national problems we face today.
Let’s take the first of these: the scheduling of holidays.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday is January 15.
Abraham Lincoln’s birthday is February 12.
George Washington’s is February 22.
Decoration Day, now Memorial Day, was May 30
Columbus Day was October 12.
In 2014, a year I selected because it illustrates my point better than most, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was January 20, Lincoln’s and Washington’s birthdays lumped into Presidents’ Day was celebrated February 17, Memorial Day was May 26, and Columbus Day was October 13 (This year it was October 8!). Not one of the year’s celebrations matched the day giving rise to it.
We all know why. The dates all were changed to Mondays, a delightful concept providing three-day weekends. Who doesn’t love a three-day weekend?
However, a price has been paid. Two prices, actually. I believe the meaning of the holidays has been lost for most folks. Of course, there are many who choose to pay proper respects to the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. on the day set aside to honor him. And whatever day is assigned to Memorial Day, ceremonies and tributes to our fallen abound. However, the participants involve only a small percentage of the populace, and I bet most of us just think of the long weekend. And I wonder how many dwell on the lives of the two presidents honored on Presidents’ Day, or consider much about Columbus on his day.
Would it be better if we celebrated on the actual days, as was the case when I was a child? I don’t know, but it seems to me we tended to pay more attention then to the meaning behind them.
What really motivated these words, though, is I think we’ve lost an element of variety. The excitement of holidays springing up on any day of the week. Holidays always falling on Monday seems kind of dull to me, compared to the adventure of a day off in the middle of the week. I remember thinking how great it was we were going to have a Thursday free from school. An off Monday was just another weekend. Think about the Fourth of July, which is always celebrated on the actual date, and see if this makes sense to you.
The subject of Daylight Savings is an equally insignificant area occupying my thoughts. It was instituted to provide more light in the summer evenings. I understand Ben Franklin was an early proponent. I remember during World War II we were told it was to benefit citizens working on victory gardens in the evening, which is what my family did.
I like daylight savings—during the summer. But in the cooler weather I like the dark evenings with extra light in the morning. So do parents who have children waiting for buses in the early hours.
There’s a push now to eliminate standard time, staying always on daylight saving.
I’m against it for the same reason I dislike most holidays being on Mondays. It’s just more exciting to have variations in our lives, even minor ones like this. More than half the year it’s light in the evening, sometimes until after nine, depending on where you live. Suddenly, when the first Sunday in November rolls around (and that’s coming up soon), it’s dark.
I love the difference. During the summer one can do things outside, chat with neighbors, and sweat. During the winter one can huddle in front of a fire, read, watch TV and have quality time with family.
Let’s not let life get boring by always being the same.