No this is not an April Fool’s joke. Today, I begin a year long event—A One Year Religious Holiday. I’ve had just over a week to think about this whole thing. The many challenges that come with this project have invaded my thoughts and feelings. Where to begin?
The first thing that comes to my mind is resource. Considering some of the comments already received when running this idea past people, it’s obvious that I will not be able to complete this task here, in this country alone. I might be able to do several of the holidays stateside, but I have serious doubts there a way that every holiday can be appropriately celebrated in this country. Can I journey to Mecca from Fayetteville? No, I will have to travel there, which can be difficult for a devout Muslim, an unemployed artist may stand no chance. I have tossed around the idea of a Kickstarter or other forms of “Go Fund Me” things, but the overwhelming consensus among those I speak to tell me the percentages those companies take basically robs those who have donated by tacking on several fees before they pay their recipients. I do not want to do that.
My alternatives are fairly typical, I know I need to submit several grant proposals for all this jazz, but it would be nice if I were also to get some sponsorship, pointing to a campaign of money gathering. I have work to do.
The next observation posing an interesting challenge is the reception/invitation factor. Let me be honest with myself. I am an outspoken anti-theist. How many religious organizations will welcome me with open arms? I mean, sure, some non-denominational sect of protestantism will welcome my crazed mission (ha!) with open arms. Or, I could have my fucking head chopped off in the Middle East, or be eaten by some indigenous jungle culture. I will have to check my voice often, but I am prepared to tuck my beliefs with duct tape sewn from focus. If ceding my observations about religion will let me gain experience, I can see faking it for a while. Who knows what I’ll discover once I let my guard down. “Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage… the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.” ~ Brené Brown
That being said, I resist my mind’s urge to make this an issue. I have been turned down for nothing, and nobody has threatened my neck, yet, so crossing those bridges as they come will work to conserve my energy. That too will be a necessary skill to master. This skill will be useful for another issue which has come up.
Physical strain. This little subject might only come about during travel, but a pilgrimage to Mecca sounds intense, dangerous, and from a taste buds standpoint, potentially disgusting. That’s only Mecca. Where else might I find my self? I might have to survive malaria. These would all be interesting challenges, yet I may face the same issues here on the home front considering how many religions and religious there are here in the “Bible Belt”. I have made it clear that I will not be killing animals, hurting myself, or others in this process, so that should provide a little ease of anxiety about the issue. Food and health will be my issue, for sure. After all, it has been mentioned by more than one there are some long fasts in various religions. True.
All I can really say at this point is that I will not be putting myself at any major risks. If my life would be at stake, I will not be celebrating that holiday, unless my life is only in danger because of location, as that particular factor will not deter me.
The final challenge I will speak of here is the volume of holidays. “There is like a “food” festival damn near every day,” said speaking on just one sect of Christianity. I understand this issue, which is why I said in my original article that I would knowingly have to let many holidays go. I am only a single human, and religious holidays outnumber any one of us by several times. This means many holidays may not be celebrated at all, but as a caveat, if I can do multiple celebrations in one day, I will. This gives me at least a little wiggle room for scheduling, and that will be huge. Other than that, I don’t have any worries (?).
Something that is already built into the project, which more than one commenter has mentioned: “this would make an awesome documentary.” This is something that I feel very confident and strongly about. In fact, if a documentary wasn’t built into this, I would make sure that it is so. Most people don’t have the time nor the inclination to consider such an endeavor, let alone make it a mission (haha!), therefor, documenting the project becomes a moral imperative supported by my role as an educator in this life. In the spirit of MMs though, I must admit a current weakness in this department. Crew.
This kind of project will take a team of at least sorta-dedicated individuals. Some occasional camera operators, research staff of at least one, and potentially an assistant. This takes me back to resources, as any team should be compensated, but as they are just an idea right now there is truly nothing to fear yet. And as that’s the case, finding these people is among my first goals.
This post is a shout-out. You wanna be a part of this? Let me know via comment or PM. But, even if I hear from nobody, I will be beginning the project in earnest tomorrow as soon as I wake with my first order of business—building the calendar. Which is why I am writing this on March 31st; I will be very busy tomorrow morning, and I wanted this to be my official “announcement of beginning”, and not spending all morning on this piece is wise.
Another purpose is to reiterate that I have many sources, but there may be holidays which aren’t on my lists. I welcome suggestions from any reader, and to make this even more user friendly, I will be posting “My Holiday Calendar” on several of my websites. This will make it easier for all who wish to participate to know what and when I will be celebrating, please make suggestions.
Yes, I will likely take requests.
I will also be issuing “Statements of Ignorance” when I hear about a religion or holiday that needs some audience information. Example: I notice I don’t have any Satanic holidays on the calendar; the word gets put out that “I am looking for Satanic holidays to celebrate.” That’s the deal.
If you are a philanthropist or know of an organization who would like to sponsor me, even a little, please don’t hesitate to put me in contact with them. There will be a Facebook page devoted to the project up before this day is out where everyone can keep track of me, as well, The Free Thinking Press will be covering me as well. Any of these methods may be employed as a way to put others who wish to contribute or question in touch with me.
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m so fucking excited