Reasons to be Cheerful – Part I

When I was seventeen, I put a little book together called ‘Reasons to Celebrate’. It was a birthday present for my best friend and consisted of a diary/birthday book with a justification for celebration listed on each and every day of the year. My friends and I were always trying to think up a good reason to indulge ourselves: to eat another ice-cream, order another pizza, not do our homework, or have another beer (yes, we were underage drinkers). My idea was that anytime we were looking for a good excuse to indulge, we could flick open the little green book and say, “Oh, look, today is National Ferret Day (April 2). Can’t let that one slip by without celebrating!”

I spent weeks trying to fill in some of the more obscure dates, using religious calenders and the Encyclopedia Brittanica to find events of note but in the end I had to invent celebrations for days that proved too hard to find anything to commemorate. It’s much easier being a teenager today. You can find so many more reasons to be cheerful.

Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the internet. Now that is a day worth noting. If it had been around when I was a kid, I could knocked up that little book of celebrations in an afternoon just by referencing the following two sites:

http://www.holidaysforeveryday.com
http://www.holidays.net

Todays listings of ‘Reasons to celebrate’ include:

Halloween
All Hallows Eve
Beggar’s Night
Magic Day
National Knock-Knock Day (USA)
National UNICEF Day
Reformation Day (particularly in Slovenia & Brandenburg)
Samhain (Wiccan)
&
The anniversary of the death of Harry Houdini.

It’s the last one that’s on my mind this afternoon. One of the characters in my new novel, Charlie, is obsessed with magic. I’ve just finished reviewing some of the chapters where Charlie tries to create illusions and discovers exactly how Indian fakirs perform their mysterious acts.

There is something about magic, about our relationship to the invisible, the unknown, the unseen and unseeable that is at the heart of celebration. It’s the essence of Halloween, Samhain and, of course, Magic Day.

Houdini died in 1926 and there was nothing cheerful about his passing. But he lived a dazzling, daring and passionate life and perhaps that’s what celebration and magic are all about. Embracing life.

Kirsty is an Australian author of books for children and young adults.

“Books are windows into other ways of being.”

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