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Festivus for the rest of us

Posted by ESC on December 24, 2005

ERIE, Pa. - The celebration of Festivus is alive and well in northwestern Pennsylvania, nearly a decade after the bizarre "holiday" garnered pop culture notoriety on "Seinfeld."

.Many people learned of Festivus through "Seinfeld," but its roots actually go back several decades, when writer Daniel O'Keefe's father started it. He was looking for something more from the holidays, something that wasn't political or religious.

O'Keefe wrote "The Real Festivus: The True Story Behind America's Favorite Made-Up Holiday" and co-wrote the "Seinfeld" episode.

In the episode, Frank Costanza, played by actor Jerry Stiller, comes up with the idea for a new holiday after struggling in a tug-of-war for a doll at a toy store.

Festivus' "traditions" differ from those of Christmas.
Instead of a tree, Festivus followers celebrate around a metal pole. Boam's Festivus pole is 6 feet tall and rooted in bucket of cement.

"No tinsel, no ornaments. Nothing should go on it. It should be bare," Boam said.

Guests also grab the pole and fume about how others have disappointed them in the past year.