For those that do not know the Festivus history, here’s a glimpse into the offbeat holiday.
Festivus is an annual holiday created by writer Dan O’Keefe and introduced into popular culture by his son Daniel, a scriptwriter for the TV show Seinfeld.Although the original Festivus took place in February 1966 as a celebration of the elder O’Keefe’s first date with his future wife, Deborah, many people now celebrate the holiday on December 23, as depicted on the December 18, 1997 Seinfeld episode “The Strike.” According to O’Keefe, the name Festivus “just popped into his head.”
The holiday includes novel practices such as the “Airing of Grievances,” in which each person tells everyone else all the ways they have disappointed him or her over the past year. Also, after the Festivus meal, the “Feats of Strength” are performed, involving wrestling the head of the household to the floor, with the holiday ending only if the head of the household is actually pinned. These conventions originated with the TV episode.
The original holiday featured far more peculiar practices, as detailed in the younger Daniel O’Keefe’s book The Real Festivus, which provides a first-person account of an early version of the Festivus holiday as celebrated by the O’Keefe family, and how O’Keefe amended or replaced details of his father’s invention to create the Seinfeld episode.
Some people, influenced or inspired by Seinfeld, now celebrate the holiday in varying degrees of seriousness; the spread of Festivus in the real world is chronicled in the book Festivus: The Holiday for the Rest of Us.