Happy In(ter)dependence Day!

The founders of Twin Oaks had the intention of creating a culture that was divergent from mainstream American culture.  One of the ways that this shows up for us now is in the holidays that Twin Oaks celebrates.  Like mainstream America, Twin Oaks gives its members “paid” time off on certain days of the year, usually in the form of six free “holiday” hours.  But instead of celebrating just the nationally recognized holidays (which tend to be patriotic and Christian), Twin Oaks celebrates a mixture of national holidays, pagan holidays, and holidays specific to Twin Oaks.  Depending on the holiday budget each year, we generally have free hours on New Year’s Day, Validation Day (Feb. 14th), Beltane (May 1st), Anniversary (of Twin Oaks founding; June 16th), Halloween, and Thanksgiving, and maybe a few other holidays.  On these big holidays, we generally have some sort of party / celebration.  While there is some overlap between national holidays and Twin Oaks holidays, we do not celebrate Easter, Memorial Day, the 4th of July, Christmas, or any of the minor US holidays.  Furthermore, we have our own “traditions” for how we celebrate national holidays.  For Thanksgiving, we have a large community meal in our dining hall and during the meal everyone says what they are thankful for that year.

 

The 4th of July is just a typical day at Twin Oaks.  Work continues as normal; there are generally no holiday-themed parties.  Many people don’t remember that it’s a national holiday.  But this year I noticed a few signs around the community reminding us about Independence Day.  When I went to my morning tofu shift, I found this production sheet:

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I also saw this note at ZK:

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and Valerie came to lunch wearing this outfit:

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What is fun and interesting to me is that each of these references to the holiday seem like an ironic rewriting of the holiday—Twin Oakers are reclaiming the holiday to fit within their political frameworks by signifying on its tropes.  Pam’s note calls out how our values as a community differ from the mainstream value of individualism.  At Twin Oaks we are all (inter-)dependent upon each other.  The tofu sheet has a flag with an anarchy symbol instead of stars.  Perhaps people were most surprised this year by the fact that we were given some holiday hours (1.5) for the 4th of July.