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Festivus entered the pantheon of American winter holidays on an episode of Seinfeld first broadcast on Dec. 18, 1997.
As the story goes, the character of Frank Costanza (father of George) developed Festivus as a non-denominational alternative to the commercialized holidays of the season. Instead of a tree, the celebration of Festivus centers around an unadorned aluminum pole. During the traditional Festivus dinners, friends and family members engage in "feats of strength," and there is a general airing of grievances among the participants.
Festivus celebrations are held on many college campuses, and a company in Milwaukee actually sells Aluminum "Festivus poles." There are at least two books on the subject (but not Festivus for Dummies.). For a time, there was a Festivus flavor in the Ben and Jerry's ice cream freezer. The holiday usually is celebrated on Dec. 23.
Festivus even gets serious consideration on the Web site of the Ontario Consultants for Religious Tolerance.
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