We love a simple reason to party! Good food, good friends, games, and sometimes even costumes have us always looking for occasions to throw a shindig.
In honor of Cinco de Mayo, today’s five are celebrations that not everyone observes each year (or every 4 years!). These are special to us for one reason or another, so in chronological order…let’s party…
1. Pi Day (March 14, 3/14, 3.14…. See what happens?)
Meagan and I both taught school for several years, and even though neither of us taught math, we have always loved Pi Day. The first three digits of the mathematical constant Pi are 3.14 so math teachers (and enthusiasts) celebrate on March 14th every year. And what else do you use to celebrate Pi? PIE!
I started this tradition in our family the way any fun tradition starts – searching for an excuse to eat food that tastes wonderful but really isn’t good for you. Because Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to a diameter (and because of the nice homonym with the actual word), we indulge every year on March 14th with pizza and pie! The pizza comes from different places, and the pie is usually some sort of chocolate pie. We sit down with the kids at dinner and talk about why circles are important, and we have them give us examples of what circles they see everyday.
It isn’t an all day celebration but I always look forward to dinner on March 14th!
2. Star Wars Day (May 4)
May the fourth be with you! Star Wars is our thing. Some families are Harry Potter people. Some are Tolkien people. Some are even die hard Trekkies (and we are ok with that – we love the USS Enterprise, too!). But we are a Star Wars people.
Meagan and I both have vivid memories of when our parents introduced us to the Skywalker story. Since then, we have watched the movies multiple times and are always quick to purchase tickets for new movies as Disney puts them out. I read the books, collect the comic books, play the games, and lose myself for hours at a time on Wookieepedia (yeah, it’s fantastic).
Meagan and I spend time in the car discussing theories and what we hope happens. We love Star Wars. And we have happily passed that down to our kids. We watch the cartoons together. They have Star Wars shirts, calendars, toys, pajamas, and even pillows. We are proselytizing, and we’re not even a little embarrassed…
So on May 4th we wear our shirts, we talk about our favorite characters, we watch trailers for the movies (because the kids haven’t actually seen any of the full length features – they just enjoy them in 2 minutes snippets on YouTube), and we dance around to John Williams’ score before bed.
I hope our celebration will evolve as they get older, but this is our speed for now. This year I held both of the bigs on the couch while we watched recut trailers to some of the newer franchise music while they both fell asleep, it was perfect.
(Don’t worry Arrested Development fans, Meagan and I also observe Cinco de Cuatro- albeit sans children – we just give them money to go see a Star War)
3. Cinco de Mayo (May 5)
I told you we love parties – so this one is literally the next day on the calendar. We are Texans and have spent our whole lives celebrating this Mexican holiday with our friends and family.
It is NOT Mexican Independence day, as it is often mistaken for, but rather the celebration of Mexico’s unlikely victory over a large French army at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. I’m sure we have not always celebrated for that exact reason, but we do love celebrating the Mexican culture that is so ingrained within our Texan culture. It also brings up great nostalgia from celebrations we always had during school.
We get together with our extended family and eat Tex-Mex food while listening to culturally relevant music. It’s not deep by any stretch of the imagination, but any excuse to tear in to some tacos and chips and salsa is perfect for me.
4. Christmas Date (Saturday before Thanksgiving)
Meagan and I spent the first 6 years of our married life in Oklahoma City, away from wherever we would spend Thanksgiving with family (Lubbock, Dallas, Kerrville). Because of our schedule as teachers, we usually had the time to travel for Thanksgiving and were gone from our home in Oklahoma from Wednesday until Sunday night before going back to work on Monday morning. Most people don’t see the problem here. But you know how I said we were a Star Wars people? Well we are a Christmas people too. Coming home from Thanksgiving, exhausted from travel and foods, headed back to one of the most strenuous stretches of the school year (parties, and papers, and finals…OH MY!) WHEN WOULD WE POSSIBLE HAVE TIME TO DECORATE?!?!?!
I mean, we turn on the Christmas tunes on the drive home from the Halloween festival/trick-or-treating that we do on Oct 31. So coming home from Texas after Thanksgiving to a home still filled with PUMPKINS was just not going to cut it for us. So we created a Christmas Date. Before we left town for Thanksgiving, we played our favorite Christmas movies, ate awesome dinner and treats, and did the WHOLE house up in Christmas swag. When we returned from Thanksgiving festivities, we walked into our Christmas wonderland, and breathed in the excitement of the new season.
Now that we live close and don’t usually travel, our special date has just stuck with us, and it is one of the days that I truly look forward to ALL year long.
5. Leap Day (February 29th)
This is a newer celebration for us. It was never even really a “holiday”. If you knew someone born on an ACTUAL February 29th, you gave them a hard time about “skipping” their birthday each year. Or you made fun of the 8-year old really only turning 2 because technically he only had a birthday every 4 years (mature, right?).
But then some dumb little joke on a TV show inspired us. We loved NBC’s 30 Rock, which told the tales of a fictional team of sketch comedy writers. We’re pretty sure Tina Fey just took her completely real experience on SNL and turned it into an Emmy machine (brilliant). Anyway, one episode (S6E8) uses Leap Day as a plot point. For some reason never really explained, Leap Day is a HUGE holiday! There are several traditions, including a fictional older gentleman (who actually lives in the Mariana Trench…so he’s got gills?) who trades candy for children’s tears (alright maybe this episode wasn’t their best writing). Sadly the spirit of the holiday, “Nothing is impossible on Leap Day!”, evolves into more of a Fat Tuesday-ish mantra, “Nothing that happens on Leap Day matters!” But we don’t take it that far.
Really just an excuse to host people, we threw a Leap Day party last year! With some passionate fans of the show, and some friends who just thought we were nuts, we decked out the house in yellow and blue (the colors of Leap Day of course), cooked food that we pretended had traditional rhubarb in it, and had bowls of candy around the house that people could eat if they cried about it first.
We’ll see about a full party in 2020 (as 30Rock has ended and people begin to forget, we might REALLY look crazy if we keep this up). But we’ll probably always celebrate it to some extent. I mean, candy? Right? We need some kind of supply to carry us from Valentine’s to Easter…
What do you celebrate outside of the major holidays? We could always use another reason for festivities!