A prisoner in California used a made-up holiday from "Seinfeld" to get a judge to approve pre-packaged kosher meals be served to him while behind bars, reports the New York Post.
Festivus, a holiday described by Frank Costanza as an alternative to both Christmas and Hanukkah and which is marked by an airing of grievances and the Festivus pole, was put down as the inmate’s religion by attorney Fred Thiagarajah, the article notes.
Thiagarajah says that his client, 38-year old drug felon Malcolm Alarmo King, was convinced that kosher meals would keep him healthier while behind bars, and a judge told him to put a religion down on the order.
"I’m not sure why it popped into my head, but in truth I think Festivus does constitute a legitimate religion. More people subscribe to Festivus than to so-called legitimate religions like Zoroastrianism," the attorney said.
According to the story, Judge Derek Johnson ruled in May, when King was incarcerated in an Orange County jail, that the "Court orders that the defendant is to receive a high protein no salami diet three times per day for ‘Festivism.’ "
The ruse was caught when the Orange County sheriff’s office looked up Festivus on Wikipedia, the story notes. Then it took several months to get the order overturned for the kosher meals, which cost twice as much as regular prison food.
Commander Dave Wilson of the sheriff’s office said, according to the story, "This guy doesn’t need a kosher diet for Festivus. But any inmate is free to observe the holiday. We don’t have Festivus poles, but plenty of our housing locations have bars in them."
Members of the "Seinfeld" cast and the Festivus pole: