We recently finished another read through the "Little House" series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
These books follow the Ingalls family in the late 1800s. Consistently, over a book series that spans 10+ years of real time and history, they only celebrate two holidays. Two. Christmas and Independence Day.
And when I say celebrate in the 1800s, I mean they had a special meal and took the day off work. (Except that when you live in an agrarian society you never really get a day off).
Today we celebrate: Christmas, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Good Friday/Easter, St Patrick's Day, Valentine's Day, Halloween... I'm sure I'm missing some.
And when I say celebrate today I mean: lawn ornaments, candy, days or time off work, more candy, gifts, decorations, maybe a special meal, and lots of stuff.
Am I arguing that we give back holidays? Not necessarily.
I just wonder if they've proliferated because of a felt need we had as a society to take better care of our laborers, or because consumerism always needs new things to sell to work.