Feature Article: What Holidays Mean to Me

Praise Oladoyin

I have this mentality that holidays or celebrations of any sort where family members are gathered are a loving but wasted effort. I might have this idea because the family gatherings I have witnessed are always so crowded, loud, stressed and unnecessarily drama related.
My parents come from big families. My paternal grandfather has three wives with 13 children and my maternal grandfather had one wife with 7 children but also a myriad of other children with mistresses . As you can see things can get crazy. On my mother’s side, her family is constantly fighting, either one sibling tells a lie and is spreads gossip about another sibling or a person is acting ruthless and using witchcraft (presumably) on the other. When my maternal grandfather died, a memorial was held, and my aunt wanted to partner up with my mom, but she was reluctant to accept because my aunt can be shady and unreliable. In the end, my aunt indeed proved to be unreliable and my mother had to foot the bill all by herself. While my aunt went on to spread false rumors on how she single-handedly planned a memorial of her father with no help. My father’s side is different. They were bonded by love and discipline, but at times, they ended up being loud and overly dramatic. Whenever my family comes together as a whole, it is always chaotic because people are trying to welcome each other, but some hold grudges against one another, which leads to drama
Africans have a tendency to be loud especially when not needed. Last week, my dad had friends over at our house for a Christmas celebration. They were eating and all of a sudden started arguing over politics. These men were in reaching distances of each other and had the ability to speak with inside voices, but instead they chose to be overly dramatic and loud. One of his friends even said, “there’s no need to argue over things that don’t directly affect you and don’t be too loud. I’m sure people in the neighborhood love their silence.”
The personal experiences and stories I have heard make me hold on to my idea ,that gatherings are a wasted effort, tighter. Family gatherings, especially on holidays, are stressful, chaotic, and dramatic because at the end they only prove to be a squandered endeavor motivated by love.