This is Independence Day here in the US. Most just call it the Fourth of July, like we own that particular spot on the calendar.
Regardless of how we might want to co-opt exclusive use of the date, I’m pretty sure the rest of the world is largely ignoring us today and going about their usual business.
Tomorrow is Digital Learning Day. The one day of the year that we celebrate “digital” learning. Differentiated, I guess, from the other 365 days1 of “non-digital” learning?
But what exactly are we “celebrating” on that day? According to the official website (or at least the site using that name with an .ORG domain), the explanation begins this way:
I’ve been absent from this space for several weeks, and part of that was due to a wonderful trip to observe and photograph Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead celebrations, in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Although too many people in the US equate this annual event with our domestic Halloween, they are not at all the same. Despite the efforts of many large retailers to merge and commercialize them.
Anyway, below are a few of the images I took during the week. More can be found in the full gallery, if you’re interested.
One big part of the three day celebration were the many parades through the center of town. This was one of the smaller ones.
Selfies are one of those universals in every culture.
The variety of decorated skulls, visible almost everywhere, was amazing.
Although whole families are involved with Day of the Dead celebrations, children were front and center for many events, especially the parades.
We celebrate New Year’s Day on the wrong day!
The term "New Year" implies the beginning of something important but let’s face it, nothing really starts on January 1 except the diet that you’ll forget before the groundhog arrives. Plus, by that time most people are pretty well strung out on holiday celebrations starting with Thanksgiving five to six weeks before.
Instead of January 1, today, September 1st, would make a far better choice to begin the year since so many significant beginnings occur around this date anyway. Just a few examples…
- This weekend marks the end of summer and of people returning from vacation – both the real ones and daydream versions. (Not a lot of real work gets done in most offices during August anyway.) In fact, meteorologists consider September 1 to be the start of the fall season.
- The football season – the NFL (which is as close to a national religion as we get), college and high school – begins around this date. Ignore those games in August. Everybody knows, the preseason doesn’t mean a thing.
- Schools and colleges begin their academic year around September 1 – at least traditionally. Many school systems have backed their starting date into August, some of them to the first week of the month. But most students don’t take things seriously (some don’t even show up) until after the 1st.
- The new television season for the four real broadcast networks (and two amateur affairs, UPN and the WB) also traditionally starts around this time. Ok, that may not be a cause for celebration.
- The fall is when movie studios roll out their "serious", Oscar-worthy films as opposed to the loud, over budget, special effect heavy crap they offer in the summer.
- Today is the first day of the Christmas selling season. Maybe that’s stretching things – a little – but Hallmark stores already have their ornaments out and I’ve seen Christmas displays in several other stores.
- Finally, the weather is better for celebrating. Wouldn’t you rather be standing outside celebrating at midnight on August 31 than December 31?
So, wish everyone you see today a happy new year and let’s see if we can get this movement rolling! But please don’t tell me how crazy I am. The family and friends, who have heard this rant for many years, have already let me know. :-)