Taking a shine to the new year.

I hope 2012 is off to a decent start for everyone reading this: a good but modest start, since it’s only just begun and we shouldn’t get anyone’s hopes up just yet!

I should have blogged about this at least a week ago, but I just couldn’t get organized enough to do so. No excuse, really—how hard is it to blog? Half the people I read online are probably ELIZAs. But anyway, what I wanted to talk about is this holiday some friends of mine invented: Glitter Day. As I explained over on the Queer Etsy Team blog:

Perceiving a gap in LGBT-centric celebrations between the holidays of Christmas and Valentine’s Day, some intrepid queer folks have set out to establish Glitter Day, an event held on the second Saturday of every January, as a time for queer people and the people who love them to celebrate their lives and loves any way they see fit. The only rule is harm none, and have fun!

Sounds simple enough, right? Not to brag, but I had some say in determining the date it should be set. After New Year’s, obviously, but never clashing with Martin Luther King Jr Day. The second Saturday in January was the 8th, last year*; this year it’s the 14th, and all future dates will inevitably fall somewhere in between.

Some might ask if we, the human race at large, need another holiday. Holidays have the unfortunate tendency to swell into massive boils of societal expectations and ritualized consumerism, weighing down whole sections of our calendars as our bank accounts run dry and our cortisol levels shoot up. And all sorts of fights break out over the ownership of any particular holiday, which is just pointless and fruitless when said holiday consists of one culture’s religious and seasonal traditions stuffed inside another and wrapped about with yet another’s, like a big multi-cultural turducken stuffed into an already seething melting pot.

Well, let’s expand on the excerpt above and discuss further ground rules. I’ll take it upon myself to say that nobody “owns” Glitter Day, but it was established primarily for the sake of us queer folks, and it harms no one to keep that focus, with our allies always welcome to join in the festivities. Like the sentiment behind Pride (held in the summer months in the Northern Hemisphere), queer-centric celebrations are intended to have a salutary effect on the members of a population whose rights are denied or infringed upon, whose self-image is routinely undermined, and depending on individual circumstance, may not have the resources or social network to dampen the effects of this oppression. Some queer folks manage to observe mainstream holidays in a manner to their liking (see Stephen Ira’s heartening post on having a Queer Christmas), but others weather emotional storms dealing with intolerant family (or no family at all) over the holiday season, so they surely deserve a do-over a week or two afterwards.

That brings us to the only original rule set for observing Glitter Day: do whatever you need to do to make yourself feel fabulous—by yourself or with friends, over cocktails or pots of tea, in a park or a hotel or your bedroom or lounge—so long as you don’t hurt anyone. It’s for an officially secular holiday**, but this one rule is in keeping with the harm principle, the Wiccan Rede, the Golden or Silver Rule (oh, so thematic!), and legendary freakdom fighter Kate Bornstein‘s “Don’t be mean” ethos in Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide…

If you need more structure or idea fodder beyond that, especially if you have children and want to get them involved***, I can recommend this charming book: Meg Cox’s The Book of New Family Traditions. If you want to re-purpose art projects associated with other holidays, do something like what designer Curtis Jensen did with his delightful Glitterbread House. By all means, take advantage of post-holiday markdowns, or do your best not to contribute to capitalism in any way. DIY your decorations from your underutilized stash of craft supplies; I’m doing that myself, but I did also spend $25 at the dollar store for a few more choice items. Dollar stores are campy treasure troves just waiting to be mined. $3 for four metres of mirror-ball garland? Yes, please!

Finally, a warning: if you use actual loose glitter in your Glitter Day celebrations, rather than rhinestones or sequin rope or other relatively large and chunky shiny things, be prepared to wear it for weeks after. One of the reasons “glitter-bombing” is such a wickedly brilliant form of political protest is that it carries a low risk of injury but will confound its target in all attempts to remove its traces. Lint rollers, laundromats, showers, loofahs, vacuums, exorcism: they’ll get most of it off, but don’t underestimate the indelible might of copolymer plastic and foil. Check out this informative video by the good people of Etsy on the history of glitter itself (found via performance artist Marsian De Lellis).

It may take a while for Glitter Day to catch on, but that while is worth… whiling away. Discuss it on Twitter using the #GlitterDay hash tag, and follow posts about it on FeastofFun.com. There should be a new show up about it any day now. 🙂

~

*Regrettably, January 8th 2011 was the day Jared Lee Loughner shot and killed 6 people in Tucson, Arizona, and injured 14, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. So if Glitter Day failed to make it onto anyone’s radar back then, it’s completely understandable.

**Which does not preclude you, hypothetical reader, from tailoring your Glitter Day celebration to suit your hypothetical faith. Bless.

***Most discussions of what our social circle did last year for Glitter Day involved a bit of drink and debauchery, which isn’t for everyone, children or not.

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