I always find holidays to be interesting, not only for the dynamics of human behavior that come forth, but also for the presence of the holiday, the energy that courses through it and builds to a quiet but steady hum of tension. The 4th of July is no exception. The tension starts the day before as people get out of work early and start driving to visit family or to buy food or to get fire works. The day of the holiday the tension rises through the day until people celebrate the fourth with firecrackers, with parties, with all the excesses people bring to such matters. And then there is what the day means. For the 4th of July, it’s a day of creation, the celebration of the birth of the U.S. It’s also a celebration of the concepts of Freedom, liberation, and other assorted values that a person might associate with this holiday. And to me it makes everything that happens a ritual of sorts, not necessarily religious, but holy nonetheless to the people who celebrate it.
Typically when we think of holiday magic, we think of magic associated with religious holidays, but I don’t think we should limit ourselves to any given holiday and I also think that if you are doing magic on a given holiday you can tap into the energy of that holiday. Going back to the example of the 4th of July, there is a lot of energy that goes into that holiday, a lot of emotions, a lot of tradition, in a way and so why not tap into that, if it’s something you feel inclined to tap into? You could tap into the 4th of July for creative or healing magic. Alternately you could also tap into it for more destructive magic. It really depends on what you want to do with it, but the point is that the holiday brings with it something that can be tapped into.
Each holiday we celebrate has its own energy, it’s own tension and associations as well. Valentine’s day is a holiday about love and lust, while Christmas is a holiday of both greed and giving. Thanksgiving is a day of thanks and a day of gluttony, while Memorial day is a day of remembrance and honoring the dead. Labor day honors work and people who work, and those are just the major secular holidays. But although those major holidays are secular there is something to be drawn on. So if you want to draw on the energy of a particular holiday look to what the holiday represents, both to yourself, and to people in general. Then plan your ritual for the day of the holiday. If you were to use the 4th of July, for example, you might time the ritual to begin when the fireworks began, using the sounds of the people and the fireworks going off as part of a ritual accompaniment. With Thanksgiving, you could use both the food preparation and the serving of the meal as part of your ritual. If you want to draw on a holiday, you want to tap into the energy of the day by integrating the actual rituals of that day into your own rituals.
I think that with specific holidays you may want to use specific types of magic. Sex magic would be useful on the 4th and Valentine’s day, while candle magic might be useful on Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Memorial day. Think about what practical magic techniques you might use for a given day and ask yourself if those techniques are in character with the holiday. That can help you determine if what you’ll do will help you draw on the energy of the holiday or if it’ll distract from the energy of the holiday. After all if you want to draw on the energy of a holiday then you want to do activities that complement the holiday.