When Is Festivus?

When is Festivus?

Happy Festivus! Image credit: Bjørn Bulthuis via Creative Commons (CC-BY-SA 2.0)

Festivus is a holiday that was invented by Frank Costanza in the American hit TV series Seinfeld. Festivus is on December 23rd. It was originated after Frank Costanza was having difficulty finding gifts for his family during Christmas. Deeming it "a Festivus for the rest of us," Frank Costanza created the holiday for anyone who doesn't like the annoyances that come with preparing for and participating in other winter holidays.

In Seinfeld, the holiday is the bane of George Costanza's existence, and he was scarred after participating in it with his family growing up.

Festivus appears late in the Seinfeld series, and, contrary to popular belief, it isn't titled "The Festivus" episode, even though that title is what millions of Seinfeld watchers label it when talking about the series. Instead the Seinfeld episode Festivus takes place in is titled "The Strike." This is because the Festivus celebration takes place in the middle of Kramer striking his old employer from years ago. 

"The Strike" is the 166th episode of Seinfeld and is the 10th episode of Season 9.

How To Celebrate Festivus

Festivus is celebrated with four main traditions. The first one is a large metal pole, aptly titled a "Festivus pole."

Why just a pole? Because Frank Costanza finds Christmas ornaments on a tree to be a "distraction."

Frank Costanza holding his Festivus Pole

You can make a Festivus pole yourself by just taking any piece of metal piping that isn't painted.

In addition to a Festivus pole, there is a communal meal, similar to Thanksgiving dinner. In the Seinfeld Episode, there was a bounteous meal reminiscent of Thanksgiving. 

However, before eating the Festivus dinner, there are two traditions that must take place.

Festivus Seinfeld episode. Frank Costanza airing grievances.

Unlike in Thanksgiving, where everyone says what they are thankful for, there is instead a special time to air grievances, aptly titled the "Airing of Grievances". This is most people's favorite part of Festivus.

The Airing of Grievances is the one time of year where everyone at the meal table can say everything they hate about the other people at the table. It can be anything at all, no matter how serious or petty, and the other people have to listen. In the Seinfeld episode, Frank Costanza stands up and calls George's boss a hack. But then he forgets what he is saying halfway through his airing of grievances and sits down.

However, no Festivus celebration would be complete without the "feats of strength," where the youngest in the family wrestles the oldest for dinner. This is a main event of Festivus, as referenced from the scene in "The Strike" where a tape of George's youth has him wrestling his father for dinner. From the tape, it is clear George always hated this moment.

Once these events are completed, and dinner is over, and everyone goes home, Festivus is over.

How To Watch The Seinfeld Festivus Episode

If you are wanting to watch the Seinfeld Festivus episode online, the only legal way to stream it is through Netflix. This is because Netflix signed a deal with Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David for exclusive streaming and television rights to the TV series for the next 5 years.

However, the episode can still be bought on Amazon or other platforms that sell individual episodes for $2.99. So if you do not have a Netflix subscription, you can buy it and watch it that way.

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