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We Are What We Celebrate: Understanding Holidays and Rituals

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How did Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday become a national holiday? Why do we exchange presents on Christmas and Chanukah? What do bunnies have to do with Easter? How did Earth Day become a global holiday? These questions and more are answered in this fascinating exploration into the history and meaning of holidays and rituals. Edited by Amitai Etzioni, one of the most in How did Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday become a national holiday? Why do we exchange presents on Christmas and Chanukah? What do bunnies have to do with Easter? How did Earth Day become a global holiday? These questions and more are answered in this fascinating exploration into the history and meaning of holidays and rituals. Edited by Amitai Etzioni, one of the most influential social and political thinkers of our time, this collection provides a compelling overview of the impact that holidays and rituals have on our family and communal life. From community solidarity to ethnic relations to religious traditions, We Are What We Celebrate argues that holidays such as Halloween, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, New Year's Eve, and Valentine's Day play an important role in reinforcing, and sometimes redefining, our values as a society. The collection brings together classic and original essays that, for the first time, offer a comprehensive overview and analysis of the important role such celebrations play in maintaining a moral order as well as in cementing family bonds, building community relations and creating national identity. The essays cover such topics as the creation of Thanksgiving as a national holiday; the importance of holidays for children; the mainstreaming of Kwanzaa; and the controversy over Columbus Day celebrations. Compelling and often surprising, this look at holidays and rituals brings new meaning to not just the ways we celebrate but to what those celebrations tell us about ourselves and our communities. Contributors: Theodore Caplow, Gary Cross, Matthew Dennis, Amitai Etzioni, John R. Gillis, Ellen M. Litwicki, Diana Muir, Francesca Polletta, Elizabeth H. Pleck, David E. Proctor, Mary F. Whiteside, and Anna Day Wilde.


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How did Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday become a national holiday? Why do we exchange presents on Christmas and Chanukah? What do bunnies have to do with Easter? How did Earth Day become a global holiday? These questions and more are answered in this fascinating exploration into the history and meaning of holidays and rituals. Edited by Amitai Etzioni, one of the most in How did Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday become a national holiday? Why do we exchange presents on Christmas and Chanukah? What do bunnies have to do with Easter? How did Earth Day become a global holiday? These questions and more are answered in this fascinating exploration into the history and meaning of holidays and rituals. Edited by Amitai Etzioni, one of the most influential social and political thinkers of our time, this collection provides a compelling overview of the impact that holidays and rituals have on our family and communal life. From community solidarity to ethnic relations to religious traditions, We Are What We Celebrate argues that holidays such as Halloween, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, New Year's Eve, and Valentine's Day play an important role in reinforcing, and sometimes redefining, our values as a society. The collection brings together classic and original essays that, for the first time, offer a comprehensive overview and analysis of the important role such celebrations play in maintaining a moral order as well as in cementing family bonds, building community relations and creating national identity. The essays cover such topics as the creation of Thanksgiving as a national holiday; the importance of holidays for children; the mainstreaming of Kwanzaa; and the controversy over Columbus Day celebrations. Compelling and often surprising, this look at holidays and rituals brings new meaning to not just the ways we celebrate but to what those celebrations tell us about ourselves and our communities. Contributors: Theodore Caplow, Gary Cross, Matthew Dennis, Amitai Etzioni, John R. Gillis, Ellen M. Litwicki, Diana Muir, Francesca Polletta, Elizabeth H. Pleck, David E. Proctor, Mary F. Whiteside, and Anna Day Wilde.

33 review for We Are What We Celebrate: Understanding Holidays and Rituals

  1. 4 out of 5

    Teodora Ştefan

    Very useful in understanding holidays better. It's addressed to Americans, but as an European, I still find it insightful. Very useful in understanding holidays better. It's addressed to Americans, but as an European, I still find it insightful.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    This book offers an interesting perspective on the cultural, communal and societal value of holidays, traditions and rituals. A good read as we begin our holiday season.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Anita

    Fascinating approach to better understand our common holidays--as mom in charge of creating Christmas around here, I have enjoyed looking at things with a new perspective. It's a collection of essays, and some are better/more relevant than others (Kwanzaa and stepfamily rituals didn't interest me). I especially liked learning about how Halloween is the antithesis of Easter and how the annual rituals complement each other, with Christmas a specific individual holiday and Easter a general, indepen Fascinating approach to better understand our common holidays--as mom in charge of creating Christmas around here, I have enjoyed looking at things with a new perspective. It's a collection of essays, and some are better/more relevant than others (Kwanzaa and stepfamily rituals didn't interest me). I especially liked learning about how Halloween is the antithesis of Easter and how the annual rituals complement each other, with Christmas a specific individual holiday and Easter a general, independent one. A sociological/anthropological explanation of Hallmark, Santa, jack-o-lanterns and more.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    interesting analysis of holiday traditions, gives support for my notion of Hallmark holidays

  5. 4 out of 5

    Isia Wieczorek

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

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    Jow Bow

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    Jenna Spencer

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    Hannah

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    Perry Daughtry

  12. 5 out of 5

    Samira

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    Ben

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn Barto

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bill Clark

  16. 5 out of 5

    Allison

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    Katie

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lāsma Reinvalde

  19. 5 out of 5

    Meghan

  20. 5 out of 5

    Emma

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    Essma

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amber

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    Chelsea Wigmore

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    Omar Mohammad

  25. 5 out of 5

    Romana

  26. 4 out of 5

    Angela

  27. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

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    Elizabeth Ford

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    Paula Seeger

  30. 5 out of 5

    Megan

  31. 5 out of 5

    Briana Hodge

  32. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Overby

  33. 5 out of 5

    Alberto

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