A New Categorisation of Holidays

A philosopher from the Arctic Circle known as “Jonathan Tallyhoe” has begun a new line of research into the categorisation of cultural holidays and celebratory festivals. Mr. Tallyhoe, who does not hold any authentic PhD’s that we know of,1 claims he is the first to enter into such territory, while following “a time-tested Aristotelian method.”

Like most metaphysicians, Tallyhoe began his research by questioning an aspect of human behaviour that normal people never worry about. Specifically, he wondered “why on earth we need so many holidays.” He is apparently the sort of person who would be happy just taking one holiday a year, “for the sake of efficiency,” even if it needs to be a week or two long to provide sufficient rest. “You like Christmas? Have twelve days! You like Boxing Day? Make it a fortnight!”

But he realised there must be something deeper. There must be something in the human psyche that requires a variety of holidays to fulfil man’s deepest needs. So he set about categorising all holidays according to the principal customs involved, to determine what people really seek in each one. The thesis of Tallyhoe’s initial work on the subject states, in philosophical terms,

Perhaps if we nail down the central behaviours of each feast day, we can come to an understanding of the true desires it fulfils in the human experience. Then, we can revise our calendar to match exactly those desires, eliminate the fluff, and just celebrate the Essence, or Being, inherent to the holidays. This will also provide a means of marketing more precisely, one thing for each holiday.2

So far he has come up with the following categories of holiday:

  • Food holidays
  • Gift-giving, i.e. general merchandising, holidays
  • Candy holidays
  • Alcohol holidays
  • Pyrotechnic holidays

The first thing to notice, observes Tallyhoe, is that all our modern holidays are pretty much opportunities to sell stuff. Apparently, there is a deep-seated need in the human psyche to buy and sell stuff, no matter the price, work involved, or uselessness of the stuff. “So you have Christmas, and people buy presents. Loads of presents! They throw out the stuff they got last year, make lists of stuff they want this year, and everybody spends tons of time and money on it!”

Next, he notes that nearly all holidays, at the adult level, seem to contain some factor of alcohol; while in childhood, most contain a candy factor. These could be combined into one Candyholic Holiday with no ill effects, Tallyhoe posits.

Tallyhoe brings his research to a shocking conclusion: rather than all these holidays with fanciful names, we can simplify everything by just having a few recurring holidays, say once a season, or even once a month. And the names would be much more descriptive of the actual purpose of the revelry. His proposed list looks something like this:

  • Candyholic Day
  • Commerce or Commercialism Day
  • Food Day
  • Fireworks Day

The frequency of each he has yet to determine, but his initial discussions with both medical doctors and economists give some general direction. First, he makes Candyholic Day the most frequent, to be at least several times a year, perhaps even weekly on some university campuses, with the emphasis on the “holic.” Even if Candy Day were celebrated apart from an Alcohol Day, it would still merit rather frequent celebration, especially since there are so many varieties from which to choose. Food Day and Commerce Day needn’t be celebrated more than twice yearly, as long as everyone is compelled to splurge both times, such that they generate sufficient revenue to keep the economy going strong. It may even be beneficial to put Commerce Day at the beginning of the fiscal year so as to eliminate some of the guesswork involved in retail businesses. Food Day works well at the onset of winter to fatten up the populace before hibernation time. Fireworks Day can be celebrated pretty much any time, and is also suitable for multiple celebrations each year. In fact, if it is well-enforced, firefighters may only need to work on the holiday itself, since it will get the pyromania out of people’s systems all at once.

Tallyhoe is now looking for subjects on which to conduct experiments in his streamlined holiday system. Interested parties may phone him at his apartment in the Arctic. If he doesn’t answer, he may be celebrating Candyholic Day, but you are welcome to join him if you are in town.


“Christmas Gifts (Geschenke 2007),” by Sigismund von Dobschütz. GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

  1. He does claim to have honorary PhD’s in Metaphysical Speculation and Artificial Investigation from the University of Toronto, but no representatives of UToronto were available for comment at the time of publishing.
  2. Though, as he states in the body of his work, Tallyhoe still prefers the efficient route, that is, everything at once for a single holiday.

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