Happy Festivus, everyone!
While it’s technically a fictitious holiday, the bizarre but memorable Dec. 23 celebration marked by Seinfeld’s Costanza family has endured, nearly 20 years after it first appeared on TV.
And for fans of the popular ’90s sitcom, it’s not a true holiday season without mentioning “a Festivus for the rest of us.”
1. Festivus at the Costanza’s
“When George was growing up, his father hated all the commercial and religious aspects of Christmas, so he made up his own holiday,” Jerry explains in “The Strike” episode, which aired in 1997.
That’s how Festivus began — as an idea concocted by George’s eccentric and outburst-prone father, Frank Costanza.
“Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way,” Frank says.
“Out of that, a new holiday was born: A Festivus for the rest of us!”
2. The real origins of Festivus
Festivus’ real origins, ’though, date back to the 1960s, according to The New York Times.
A man named Dan O’Keefe allegedly created it and his son, Daniel, a Seinfeld writer, brought it to television.
“Have we accidentally invented a cult?” O’Keefe told the paper in 2004, when he discovered that Festivus parties were being held across the U.S.
3. How do you celebrate Festivus?
There is no Christmas tree during Festivus, Frank Costanza explains in the episode. Instead, the holiday centres around an aluminum pole that requires no decoration. “I find tinsel distracting,” Frank says.
Festivus is also the time to air grievances between family members — fun! — and the “feats of strength.” While we never know what those feats are, Frank says that Festivus doesn’t end until George pins him.
4. Buy a real Festivus pole
A company in Milwaukee, “a city known for its very high strength-to-weight ratio,” sells six-foot, aluminum Festivus poles. Apparently this is a real thing and people have posted photos next to the poles.
5. U.S. states put up Festivus poles
Wisconsin set up a Festivus pole alongside its annual Christmas tree at the state capital in 2013. Anyone can submit an application to put up a holiday display on the rotunda at the state capital, and someone in Madison was clearly a Seinfeld fan.
“I think it’s a reflection of the many different wonderful traditions in the state of Wisconsin,” Governor Scott Walker said.
A Festivus pole made entirely out of empty beer cans was also set up at the capital building in Tallahassee.