A three-day weekend can mean many different things for people. 

It can be the opportunity to get more sleep, to finally finish all the things you’ve been meaning to do or to catch up on all the binge-watching you’ve got queued up. It can be a an extra day to do absolutely nothing or it can be a day to do something that ordinarily you would never do. It’s like a more reliable leap day. 

However, rarely does anyone pay attention to the actual reason why we were given that day off.

We just passed Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. MLK Jr. was a great champion for the Civil Rights Movement. And like every year, many people simply took the day off without fully thinking about why the day off was given in the first place. 

There are a lot of people who know surface-level facts about him but other than that could not tell you anything. As kids, there were entire days and weeks dedicated to learning about figures like MLK Jr., granted it was the kid-friendly version. Once you reach a certain age, we all stop talking about holidays like Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

While getting a national holiday itself is a special thing, many Americans are apathetic to the idea of holidays like this and don’t care about the meaning.

I think that in America, we have several  holidays that allow us to not have to go to school or work but the average person knows very little. 

Generally, blindly doing something without thinking about it isn’t necessarily great for us. We should all want to at least know more about why figures like Martin Luther King Jr. are so important that they warrant a holiday.

This can take shape in a few ways, simply talking to other people about it, doing a little bit of research if you truly don’t know anything about that day or by attending an event related to the holiday. It can be as in-depth as you want it to be and it is a great opportunity to learn various aspects of history, as well as the ways society has changed and the ways in which it still needs to change. 

Days like theses are the perfect opportunities to have important conversations about our society that we are simply not having. 

The meaning of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is to comemmorate a civil rights leader, remember the changes made to society and realize there are many more changes to be made. 

So, while you are taking a day off to go on a fun adventure, get some much-needed sleep or binge-watch episodes of “The Great British Bake Off,” talk to someone about it. Either a friend or your Amazon Echo. Either work and both could give you some interesting information that you wouldn’t otherwise know. 

You should, by all means, have fun on an extra day off, but knowing why you have that day off is important. If you missed an opportunity this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, there are many more holidays coming up you shouldn’t miss, like Presidents Day.

Spencer Brown is an arts and entertainment editor.

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