As readers of this blog and/or listeners to this podcast are aware, some Mondays present us with a plethora, a Mother’s Day buffet of musical topics from which to choose, while others are as dry as a perfect martini. During such days of topical feast or famine, coming up with a topic is equally challenging: in the case of feast, the challenge is choosing one topic over the others and in the case of famine, manufacturing a post out of topical crumbs, dust motes, and bed mites.
Having said that, December 23 presents us with a situation I have never before faced in the 3½ years I’ve been writing this post. Yes, there are a couple of events – a birth and a death – that we will mark in a moment. But in doing my research, I have discovered a gaggle of strange, even horrific musical events associated with December 23, making me wonder whether there is some genuine weirdness in the air on this date. Is it the proximity of December 23 to Christmas Eve Day (the 24th) or the Winter Solstice (the 21st)? Is it a reflection of “The Night of the Radishes”, an annual celebration held on December 23 in Oaxaca, Mexico dedicated to carving oversized radishes? Perhaps it is a function of “Operational Servicemen Day”, a military holiday observed by all service personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine? Or maybe it’s all a result of the spirit of Festivus (“Festivus for the rest of us”), a secular holiday presumably “celebrated” on December 23 as an antidote to the materialism and commercialism of Christmas? (Festivus was invented in 1966 by the writer Daniel O’Keefe, though it gained prominence thanks to a 1997 Seinfeld episode called The Strike, which featured a Festivus dinner and such “traditional” Festivus activities as “The Airing of Grievances”, “Feats of Strength”, the labeling of commonplace events as “Festivus miracles”, and the display of a “Festivus pole”: a plain aluminum pole mounted on a wooden stand.Continue Reading