Friday, July 14, 2017

Word: Fete


[feyt, fet]
noun, plural fetes.
1. a day of celebration; holiday:
The Fourth of July is a great American fete.
2. a festive celebration or entertainment:
The ball was the greatest fete of the season.
3. a religious feast or festival:
a fete lasting several days in honor of a saint.
verb (used with object), feted, feting.
4. to entertain at or honor with a fete:
to fete a visiting celebrity.
Josh did not know what the big deal was.  Everyone was making such a big fuss over something so small.  It wasn’t like he had done something big or important or anything.  He had been told the significance, of course, but to him, it all seemed so trivial.  Certainly not worthy of the huge celebratory party he was getting, or the large number of checks his parents were diligently keeping track of.
                All he had done was get up in front the congregation and read off a piece of paper.  Sure, it was all in Hebrew, but it was written out so anyone could read it.  Plus, the whole thing only took ten minutes.  Why would something so simple warrant such an extravagant party? 
                  Everyone was congratulating him and patting him on the back and telling him how great he was.  But he simply could not understand why.  Anyone could have done what he did, and he could think of a lot of people who could probably have done it better.  So why was everyone praising him so much?
                He knew the reasons why the ceremony and party were happening.  It was a tradition for his thirteenth birthday.  He knew what that meant to people, but it seemed silly to him.  After all, all he really did was be alive for thirteen years, and that was hardly because of anything he did.  His parents, now they should be the ones that people were celebrating, not him.
                All Josh wanted to do was go home and play video games.  But asking his parents to take him home so early would be rude.  After all, the party was for him.  For some reason that Josh was apparently unaware of. 
                Maybe there was some hidden meaning to it.  Maybe going up there and reading those words off what amounted to cue cards was important not for him, but for the adults?  Something like another way for his parents to brag about him?  They did that a lot, so why not now?  But then again, Bobby Weismann went through all the same things when he turned thirteen, and they had a celebration just as big as Josh was getting.  And Bobby was really stupid.  He couldn’t even read the words right.  So no, it was probably not for parental bragging rights.   
                He knew it was some kind of ritual passage into adulthood.  But he was barely even a teenager now.  How was that considered an adult?  It seemed even sillier than the process already was.  Besides, how could reading a few Hebrew words make him a man?  There were only three other boys he knew of that either would, or already had gone through this.  Nobody else seemed to care about being thirteen, and they definitely did not consider him an adult at such a young age.  Josh did not consider himself to be a man, that was for sure.
                Maybe that was the point.  Maybe he was not supposed to understand yet.  Maybe it was understanding the reasons behind the ceremony and the following celebration that mattered.  Maybe when he was older, he would be able to figure it out, and that would be when he really entered adulthood. 
                Josh nodded slightly to himself.  That sounded reasonable.  Well, more reasonable than anything he had been told so far anyway.
For those who are not Jewish, this is a Bar Mitzvah party.  The Bar Mitzvah is pretty much a boy's thirteenth birthday, but there's a whole bunch of ceremony around it.  The big party afterwards is more recent I think.  It's really just a bigger than normal birthday party, but people tend to go all out with them.  So yeah, that's what's going on here.  Have a nice day.

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