OPINION: Understanding holidays helps form personal values


For many, spring could not have come sooner. This beautiful season gives students and faculty a welcome excuse to spend time outside, relax and prepare for the end of the semester. But for many, the only thing on our minds (especially after Spring Break) is what holiday is coming up next that offers time off from school? Easter, April Fools, Saint Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo are just a few holidays that will offer merriment, parties and relaxation as we approach the end of the semester. But when was the last time we appreciated what holidays even stand for? Our holidays are a central part of our culture and how we create social bonds, yet we are told little about them aside from how to celebrate. 

It’s bizarre to think that many of us so blindly follow traditions and certain practices without even fully understanding the implications. 

We seem to be a society that is always on high alert for fallacies and scams, but every year we celebrate holidays without even knowing what they stand for. How many people know that Saint Patrick was a Christian missionary kidnapped by Irish raiders? How about the fact that Mother’s Day was created by the Greeks to celebrate Rhea, the mother of the gods? Or that April Fools was once not a holiday, but an insult shouted towards people who followed the Julian calendar instead of the Gregorian one, according to History.com.

In failing to understand the meanings behind holidays, we lose a vital part of our culture and identity. Anyone who has a child knows that they constantly ask “why” things are the way they are. Sharing traditions, customs, holiday practices and explaining their meanings not only educates others but culturally enriches them as well. 

Learning the backstory of your families or country’s celebrations is a fantastic and incredibly easy way to get in touch with your roots and, more importantly, pass on your values.