In the Defence of our Holidays

The State of Sandus Facebook page was decorated for Transgender Day of Remembrance.
The State of Sandus Facebook page was decorated for Transgender Day of Remembrance. Image from the Office of the Sôgmô.

It is well known, and well joked about, that Sandus celebrates and commemorates many holidays. The very nature of how we categorise our holidays — not between secular and religious, but between national, cultural, and recognition — depicts a scale of how many holidays we have in comparison to other nations. For our own national events and major holidays, we have State holidays; for our culture as a nation, we have Sancta holidays; and, for our progressive society and progressive politics, we have days of recognition. Undoubtedly, in our annals of holidays, a few of them will anger non-citizens simply because they are so many.

We say non-citizens because they have been the only ones to raise objection to our holidays. Whether it is Remembrance Day on IX Maio (9 May) or the National Day of Socialism on VII Novembro (7 November), it has always been non-citizens who complain.

Of the objections we have heard, why do these non-citizens complain? Often because they misunderstand what the holiday celebrates. We celebrate Remembrance Day on IX Maio for two reasons: we have a connection to the day as it was celebrated in Socialist countries and we are a Socialist country; and, it falls on the Sancta holiday of the Lemuria, a holiday to the lemures — malevolent spirits of the dead. However, of Remembrance Day, we hear objections from non-citizens and non-Sandum people who argue that Sandus is celebrating the atrocities of Socialist countries and especially of the Soviet Red Army. Such is not the case: for the Sandē, all war is an atrocity. We do, however, celebrate the victory of a Socialist country over a non-Socialist one, especially when the Socialist country was invaded and attacked because it is a Socialist country. It is our national culture, as a Socialist nation, to celebrate holidays where Socialism — a key part of our national philosophy — is celebrated.

Similarly, when we celebrate the October Revolution, our nation does not celebrate atrocities committed from the regime it establishes. Congruently, this is true of other macronational holidays: little consideration and gravity is granted to those who protest the American celebration of July 4th as the beginning of the American Revolution, despite the fact that the American Republic pushed out both Loyalists and Indigenous peoples, and committed atrocities against them; the same is true of those who would protest the French celebration of « le quatorze juillet » or Bastille Day for the atrocities of the Reign of Terror or of Napoléon. And what of non-revolutionary holidays, too? Do we, as people, give much protest to Guy Fawkes Day because of the atrocity of the event in which Guy Fawkes was tortured and hanged? We do not, and for good reason.

We celebrate the October Revolution for being the first revolution spear-headed by Socialists and Communists, of which our nation is a political descendant of. Without the success of the revolution, it is likely that Sandus — and multitudes of other countries — would not be Socialist and understand the historical element that the Great October Socialist Revolution played on the success of worker’s movements throughout the world. Sandus, as a Socialist country, celebrates the October Revolution as a two-day State holiday: the National Day of Socialism (VII Novembro, 7 November) and the Day of the Ways & Means of Revolution (VIII Novembro, 8 November). This holiday also plays an administrative role, as the Citizens’ Communist Party of Sandus — a public interest and democratic organ of the Sate of Sandus — meets in Congresses and Conferences on or near the anniversary of the October Revolution; without the National Day of Socialism, this sole democratic organ of Sandus would not meet in its plena and democracy would not be existent in Sandus.

Though Sandus does not celebrate the Fourth of July, or le jour de la Bastille, or Guy Fawkes Day, we can understand that atrocities are rendered from past events but, if we are to say that certain peoples can not celebrate the holidays which are meaningful to them and we fail to understand why other peoples celebrate them, we ought not to impose – as equal parts of humanity and with the same dignity as peoples – our culture on others. Sandus is both a very political nation and also a very progressive political nation. Today, at the time of writing this, we celebrate a new day of recognition which was put unto our Sandum calendars this year: Transgender Day of Remembrance. If, however, a social conservative was to impose on us his or her culture, we would not be celebrating this day of recognition, much to the chagrin of those who have protested before our other holidays based on Socialism and who are social liberals and progressives. Undoubtedly, some social conservatives likely are discounting this Sandum day of recognition, which we celebrate as a memorial to those who have perished from the hatred and ignorance of transphobia.

Ultimately, foreign citizens who protest our national holidays ought to strive to understand and empathise with why Sandus celebrates these holidays. We do not celebrate IX Maio (9 May) for atrocities committed by an army, we do not celebrate VII Novembro (7 November) for atrocities committed by a single man; we celebrate these days as an expression of the joys and trials of being human, when we deal with grief, anger, and happiness. Just like the grief of countless people ravaged by war or like the happiness of people surging against a system which does not benefit them, we too celebrate these holidays for their immense bank of emotion and purpose which give a share of understanding to what Sandus and what being Sandum is. Insofar, we have not asked other nations to change their most sacrosanct holidays, and we ask that other nations do not impose this on us. This is more than just a matter of respect of sovereignty, it is about the respect of other nations as being equal. Without the equality of nations, the world is a violent anarchy cast through impulses by militaries and war. And without this equality of nations, even greater atrocities can happen yet.

To citizens and non-citizens alike, we celebrate this hallowed holiday and all other hallowed holidays of ours, just like all other joyous holidays of ours, for a purposed endowed in our Philosophy by our people and by our nation. Therefore, continue to celebrate them, Sandum citizens, for as long as the Philosophy and the Nation remains to us.

— Sôgmô Sörgel