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Secular Holiday Activities

In much the same way that Hanukkah isn't really an important holiday, but Jews make a big deal due to its proximity to Christmas, freethinkers often get the urge to celebrate minor holidays and anniversaries. As you can see on our List of Secular Holidays, we encourage students to find excuses to party all year round, not just on the two major humanist holidays (Darwin Day and the National Day of Reason). More ideas can be found here.

Craft Night:

Although this may require out-of-pocket funds for craft supplies, it's a really fun way to foster companionship. You can, for instance, make Flying Spaghetti Monster and Darwin figurines, color in an evolutionary timeline, or (for Nietzsche's birthday) make and wear giant walrus-handlebar mustaches. A supplement is to have some form of audiovisual entertainment running concurrently, such as episodes of Mr. Diety or Monty Python, which will help include those who aren't feeling particularly crafty. Refreshments can include cider, popcorn, cookies, and other treats.

Coming-Out Party/Rally:

"We're here, we're godless, get used to it!" Okay, so the slogan needs work, but that message of pride and forthrightness is something that the atheist community needs to promote. A unique and attention-grabbing holiday activity is to hold a coming-out event, wherein both open and closeted freethinkers can have an opportunity to stand up and voice their non-belief, their experience in rejecting religion, why the world needs reason today, and any other topic close to their hearts.

This can be done in a variety of formats. For instance, if you want something small yet affirmative, you can set up a soapbox between or after classes for people to orate upon. Read passages from famous freethinkers (Twain, Ingersoll), and promote your group. If you'd prefer something possibly more complex, but more powerful and incendiary, consider holding a rally or parade for nonbelievers. This can be especially powerful in the aftermath of a bias incident against freethinkers, either locally or nationally. For more information on rallies, see our resource page.

This can also serve as a great pretext for a party, either combined with the above activities or on its own. Think about including activities from a Superstition Bash.

Good Deeds / Random Acts of Kindness:

These can, of course, be done individually and at any time, but doing them as a group for a secular holiday both promotes your group and increases fellowship amongst members. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination: work at a soup kitchen, pick up litter, perform on the street for charity, or go to a blood drive on the National Day of Reason. If your members can do it while wearing group or freethinking t-shirts or buttons, all the better!

Brunch / Picnic:

Just have a number of people come together to lounge, talk, and ingest delicious comestibles. This can be a fun, low-key introduction for new or potential members. When planning, be sure that you have access to a suitable location (i.e. one that you can easily clean up), as well as appropriate supplies (tables, chairs, plasticware). Food can be brought by designated members, or in a potluck manner (although this is difficult for those without kitchens).

Proclamation / Resolution:

A great way to increase visibility for freethinkers (as well as obtain media coverage) is to get a local body (mayor, town council, student union) to issue a resolution or proclamation celebrating a humanist holiday. Generally, it is best to do this for a holiday that both freethinkers and the non-religious can celebrate, such as Church-State Separation Week, Darwin Day, or Religious Freedom Day.

A sample Mayoral Proclamation for State-Church Separation is available at Freedom from Religion Foundation's website. The ACLU offers some guidelines on passing a community resolution, although this may be more intensive than you'll need for a non-political resolution.

Debate/Speaker/Panel:

While these may be a little dry for a holiday, properly speaking, they can be a good way to mark a minor holiday, especially if your speaker's topic relates to the theme of that day. The SSA has a number of resources for putting together these types of events. Our Speakers and Debate Resource Guide lists both our resources and those hosted elsewhere. For ideas on how to host an Ask-an-Atheist panel, take a look at this activity packet.

Excessive Amounts of Pie:

This works best for Pi Day (March 14th), but it takes some planning to obtain supplies and make food. You can divide specific tasks among members (driving, getting supplies, clean-up), but I can't stress enough how much fun it is to bake communally! Be sure to make different varieties (from apple to banana kiwi) and to take into account everyone's dietary concerns (such as vegan or lactose-intolerant).

This theoretically can be combined with bake sale; its unlikely you'll make much, but it can be a very effective way to promote your group. If you're baking for group consumption, consider making 3.14 pies, or if you're feeling ambitious, 31.4.

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