Zenithichron, A New Holiday to Celebrate Summer

August is begging for a holiday. The weather’s always nice, it’s 31 days long, and it’s smack dab in the middle of one of the longest holiday dry streaks of the year. By my calculations, there are only two months—June and August—that don’t have a holiday of their own. Unless you count Flag Day, which I don’t.

Call me unpatriotic.

June does have the first day of Summer, so at least it has something. But the only thing August has around here is the first day of school. What a crock!

So my new holiday will take place the third Wednesday in August. It’s going to require a complete shutdown of society. And I don’t mean everything’s shut down except McDonald’s and the gas station on the corner that sells fried chicken. I mean everything. Unless someone might die if you don’t work, then you’re not working.

It needs a name. Let’s call it Zenithichron, from zenith, meaning high point, and chron meaning time. The time of the highest point. It also sounds like some sort of Transformer, but ignore that.

Zenithichron is the day when we celebrate the best part of the best season of the year, summer. The traditions are many, the fun is endless, and the memories are forever.

Some of the injuries are, too.

The day starts with the water balloon ambush. It’s a long tradition for each person in a household to try to be the first one out of bed after sunrise so they can awaken everyone else in the household with a ceremonial ice cold water balloon over the head. Alarm clocks are not allowed. Waking up before sunrise is not allowed.

The first person awake and throwing water balloons wears the Zenithicrown for the day. This is a crown that has been passed down through families for generations and is only worn on Zenithichron. If it has been previously blessed by a Bulgarian grandmother it will hold great powers that cannot be spoken of here.

After everyone sits down to the traditional breakfast of chocolate covered mashed potatoes and cucumber water, the eldest person in the family recounts the oral history of that family’s Zenithichron celebrations. The entire history should be strictly fact-based.

The oral history should take most of the morning. If it concludes before eleven o’clock all members of the household should go to the front yard to relax in vinyl lawn chairs until eleven o’clock, at which time the parade begins.

The Zenithichron parade is unique to each community. Tradition will dictate the path of the parade, but it shall be agreed that each household watch as the parade passes their house, and then join the parade at the end.

When everyone in town has joined the parade, all citizens will then go to the nearest open field—probably a soccer field at the high school, or a farmer’s field left fallow for this express purpose—and pour a pint of milk down the shirt of the person next to them. The milk signifies a mother’s love, and reminds us that we are all children of Mother Earth.

The milk offering concludes the formal communal activities. All citizens can then return home, get cleaned up, and spend the afternoon with friends and loved ones.

It’s encouraged—although not required—to turn the afternoon into something reminiscent of Field Day in elementary school. Wheelbarrow races, sack races, egg and spoon races, and egg toss are just some of the activities suggested. If at all possible, adults who are not responsible for children shall have consumed a fair amount of alcohol before beginning the afternoon’s festivities.

During the early evening hours, families and friends should once again congregate around the kitchen table for a short discussion in which they recount their favorite day of the summer. The person who has the least exciting favorite day is then chased out of the house by egg-wielding loved ones in an effort to spice up their memory of the summer.

By sunset everyone will be pretty well exhausted, so it’s expected that a number of community bonfires will take place. S’mores will be eaten, ghost stories will be told, and everyone will give thanks for Zenithichron, the summer that has passed, and the dwindling days of summer that remain.

Only 267 days until Zenithichron!

This post was written as part of ChicagoNow's Blogapalooz-Hour, in which we're given a topic and challenged to write a post in one hour. Today's topic was to create a new holiday.

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