The folklore of Festivus is derived from two places: the traditional Festivus celebrated by the O’Keefe family and the Seinfeld Festivus celebrated by the Costanza family, as depicted in the Seinfeld Festivus episode “The Strike”.
In the case of Festivus Dinner, the Costanza folklore seems to have taken precedence. Since “The Strike” was aired in 1997 the traditional meal for Festivus became known as “Spaghetti or Meatloaf”.
But why the choice? Mainly because nobody could actually identify the meal. They saw Estelle Costanza serving a reddish food on top of a whitish base. In fact it sort of looked like red spaghetti sauce on a bed of noodles. But some thought it could be meatloaf, but what was the whitish element that was under the meatloaf. It just wasn’t clear.
Years later, with the advent of clearer television (including HDTV), it is now more clearly seen to be slices of meatloaf on a bed of lettuce. Although, the notion of serving meatloaf on lettuce still seemed odd to some people, this was an odd family celebrating an odd holiday. So it seemed to be perfectly acceptable.
Last year, we started a poll to see how website visitors identified the meal. 82% of the responents thought it was “Meat Loaf”, 8% said it was “Spaghetti” and 10% voted that it was “Something Else”. The masses have spoken and the ruling is that it is truly Meatloaf.
The notion that an official meal for a “sitcom holiday” should be based on the actual meal served on the sitcom seems offbeat to some. However, to Festivus Aficionados it makes perfect sense. If that’s what the Costanzas’ had for dinner, then it should be good enough for the rest of us right? Meatloaf (on a bed of lettuce) it is!