What is a Holiday, Anyway?

Brown students watching the Super Bowl

Brown students watching Super Bowl XLVII

While life at Brown can be a bubble sheltered from pop culture, the far-reaching effect of the Super Bowl still penetrates the bubble. On campus, and across America, people gather to eat pizza and wings and to watch, or pretend to watch, the Super Bowl. More than 111 million viewers tune in. People from all walks of life post about the game on Facebook, often deciding which team to support on a whim. The Super Bowl reaches far beyond the contingency of fans who care or know anything about football.

The word “holiday” is defined as “a day of festivity or recreation when no work is done.” That definition fits the Super Bowl perfectly. Americans celebrate the Super Bowl as they would other holidays, with family, friends, and food. The Super Bowl is second only to Thanksgiving in food consumption.

4for4.com Fantasy Football began a petition for the Super Bowl to become a national holiday, but it did not reach the necessary 100,000 signatures to require a response from the White House before game day. The petition states that “By doing so, the Obama Administration can promote camaraderie among the American people, keep the streets safer for our children on Sunday night and Monday morning, promote a productive workplace when work resumes on Tuesday, and honor the most popular event in modern American culture.”

The Super Bowl is essential to American culture and thus should be celebrated and endorsed officially. The Super Bowl unites Americans of every economic class, race, religion, and geographic location. It provides complete strangers with a topic to discuss and unites them as Americans. Officially supporting the event as a holiday officially supports such camaraderie and patriotism.

Declaring the Super Bowl a holiday would allow the police force to better prepare for the event. When necessary personnel work most holidays, such as Christmas or Thanksgiving, they are compensated for missing their ideal holiday celebration. Such an incentive should be available to police officers who must work instead of partaking in the festivities.

Even though there are no tangible attachments between Brown or Providence to the San Francisco 49ers or the Baltimore Ravens, many students will forego their normal Sunday night studying routines to take part in the ritual of the Super Bowl. One does not have to support one of the teams in the game or follow the sport at all to feel included and American just by watching the game. Perhaps this appeal is little more than permission not to feel guilty about watching instead of working.

Holidays are a huge defining part of every culture. Why would we officially recognize holidays that no one celebrates, such as Columbus Day, but not officially ignore the most popular unofficial holiday? Such recognition would demonstrate our pride in our culture.


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