What has happened to the holidays of my youth?

Is it just me or do I have some support and compassion out there for my abhorrence to the ever-progressing commercialization of our society?

I have a definite fondness and maybe even a devotion to some of America’s holiday seasons, but for the corporate world to kidnap those holidays for their own financial gain is the about as low as an institution can go.

As many of you know from prior My Turns, neither my wife nor I celebrate Valentines Day partly because it has become a totally commercial venture.

One of the popular beliefs about St. Valentine is that he was a priest from Rome in the third century AD.

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During that period of time, Emperor Claudius II had banned marriage because he thought married men made bad soldiers.

Valentine felt this was unfair, so he broke the rules and arranged marriages in secret.

When Claudius found out about his activities, Valentine was thrown in jail and sentenced to death.

While in prison, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and when he was taken away to be executed Feb. 14, he sent her a love letter signed “from your Valentine.”

Later on in history, the church wanted to turn this festival into a Christian celebration and decided to also use it to remember St. Valentine.

Gradually, St. Valentine’s name began to be used by people to express their feelings to those they loved.

Even though Hallmark denies any involvement in the creation of Valentine’s Day, we do know that they first offered Valentine’s Day cards in 1913, which has morphed into over 131 million Valentine’s Day cards being exchanged each year.

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That constitutes the second largest holiday for greeting cards in our country.

Leslie and I were walking through Wal-Mart about a week ago and I mentioned, “Look they have Halloween stuff out all ready. It’s only the first of September.”

She laughed, that immediately lets you know you’re completely out of the loop, and replied, “Take a look over there, they have Thanksgiving and Christmas stuff out, too.”

Seriously? Has what used to be a quiet neighborhood outing for the local kids turned into a series of “events” that stuff already-hyper kids with bags and bags of sugar?

Do we no longer think of Christmas as a celebration of the birth of Christ with family, but a two to three month series of shopping sprees to fulfill the whims of the most pampered children in the world?

What about Easter? Easter is a Christian celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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The actual date is movable because it depends on astronomical events that shift.

The rule is that Easter is the Sunday after the full moon that is immediately after the Vernal equinox.

According to the New Testament of the Bible, that is three days after the crucifixion of Jesus by Romans.

Catholic.com says the Roman Catholic Easter begins with a 40-day period of fasting — Lent — and is concluded by the Holy Week. Holy Thursday (celebration of Jesus’ last supper) and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday is a part of the Holy Week, which ends onEaster Sunday.

That’s interesting. Fasting and abstinence are part of the traditions of Easter?

From what I see on marketing media I would think it is all about gluttony and overindulgence starting way more than 40 days prior to Easter Sunday.

Maybe I’m just doomed to be stuck in the great memories I have of my youth celebrating the various holidays on the appointed day with family and friends, at least I hope so.

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I really don’t want to deal with Halloween paraphernalia in September or chocolate eggs in February.

As much as I love Christmas music, October is way too early for me to process “Deck the Halls.”

I am going to focus on ignoring the commercial hype this year, maybe even boycott those that diminish and dilute the true intent of traditions that have been part of the fabric of our country for over 200 years.

Retail sales may be good for the economy, but they do very little for our peace of mind or our pocketbooks.

It’s like I tell my children (all grown now), life is most often determined by the choices we make and the choices we make should be determined by what we know is right.

It takes courage to do the right thing but, “If you always do the right thing, you will never be wrong.”

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and a Blessed Easter.

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