The roots of Festivus can be traced back to 1966 when Dan O'Keefe, a Reader's Digest writer, invented the holiday. Festivus is a secular holiday ("A Festivus for the rest of us") falling on December 23rd.
Festivus was brought into the national spotlight in 1997, when O'Keefe's son, Daniel introduced Festivus as a plot element in a television show. That, of course, was no ordinary television show. It was Seinfeld -- the "show about nothing" with a knack for revolutionizing pop culture.
In the show, Festivus was invented by George Costanza's father, Frank, in response to the commercialism surrounding Christmas.
Festivus starts with an unadorned aluminium pole (Frank finds tinsel distracting) in lieu of a Christmas tree, and then moves on to other traditions.
The Festivus Dinner and the Airing of Grievances
The Festivus dinner traditionally consists of meatloaf, turkey or ham. In the Seinfeld episode responsible for the phenomenon, the group dined on meatloaf followed by a Pepperidge Farm cake adorned with M&Ms. Following the Festivus dinner, the family or group participates in the Airing of Grievances.
And at the Festivus dinner, you gather your family around, and tell them all the ways they have disappointed you over the past year! - Frank Costanza.
The Airing of Grievances can be directed at the members of the household or group, or at the world in general -- either is considered acceptable.
The Feats of Strength
Once the Airing of Grievances is over, participants move on to the Feats of Strength -- essentially a wrestling contest. In the Airing of Grievances, the head of the household or groups selects another member to challenge him or her to a wrestling match. If the person declines, the head may select another challenger.
The Feats of Strength ritual is not over until someone pins the head of the household or group. So if no one is able to successfully pin the leader, Festivus continues indefinitely.
Looking for a place to have Festivus dinner? Well, since Festivus isn't recognized as an official holiday, you shouldn't have trouble finding a suitable restaurant in Jacksonville. While the Festivus dinner is traditionally served at home, eating out is perfectly acceptable.
Other Festivus Tidbits
Former Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle displayed a Festivus Pole in the Executive Residence during the 2005 holidays.
The Balitmore Ravens used "Festivus" in lieu of "Playoffs" during their Super Bowl run toward the end of the 2000 NFL season.
What's believed to be the world's first Festivus Pole lot opened in Milwaukee in 2007.
The Festivus Film Festival has been held in Denver, Colorado every year since 2008.
Google introduced an easter egg into its search results during the 2012 holidays, placing a large aluminium Festivus Pole along the left side of all search results containing the world "Festivus."