Saturday, October 9, 2021

Still Life with Robin: Happy IP Day!

Image via Wikimedia/Creative Commons
by Peggy Robin

You may be aware that the holiday on Monday, October 11th, formerly known as Columbus Day, has been renamed and repurposed in DC (as has been the case in many other states, cities, and localities) as  Indigenous Peoples Day. And just this year President Biden has issued an official proclamation for the Federal holiday, as well. You can read about it here:

I first wrote about this on October 11, 2014 and again after DC made it official in 2019 – so I’m happy about the change. Well, mostly happy. What’s the trouble, then? I like my holiday names short and snappy. Indigenous People’s Day….let’s see….that’s seven syllables. And you know ’re going to have a hard time getting any children under age seven to understand the word “indigenous” – let alone pronounce it properly.

So what’s the solution? How about a two-letter abbreviation? IP Day. It’s quick and easy to say. Is there any objection?

Oh, you think the IP already is taken for “internet protocol” as in IP address.

Or you think it means “in person” in text messaging slang.

Or “intellectual property” in copyright cases.

Or “innings pitched” in baseball.

Or “Intra Peritoneal” in med school.

Or “Instructional Pilot” in the Air Force.

Yes, it does, and it can keep all those meanings. None of them will be mistaken for the holiday. Context is everything, and when "IP" is used with the date of the second Monday in October, it only mean one thing: Indigenous People’s Day.

And while we’re at it, let’s look at how many other holidays already have a shorthand form, whether used in text messaging, advertising, or in everyday speech.

MLK Day for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Juneteenth: Here’s a splendid example of a holiday that is already its own contraction (for June Nineteenth).

July 4th. Not many say the five-syllable “Independence Day” – though it’s often said in a four-syllable version, Fourth of July

Halloween: Bet you forgot that this holiday is a actually a contraction of All Hallows Evening.

Tgiving. Has not filtered into normal speech but it’s certainly worked its way into text messaging.

Xmas. In use since at least the 16th century,

A Very Happy IP Day to All!


Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.   

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