Save your tears: Why Whamageddon is making people stay away from ‘Last Christmas’

Save your tears: Why Whamageddon is making people stay away from ‘Last Christmas’

Dec 22, 2023 - 23:30
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Save your tears: Why Whamageddon is making people stay away from ‘Last Christmas’

‘Last Christmas I gave you my heart’. You have probably heard this 1986 Christmas classic by the English pop duo Wham!. Even if you are unaware of the original song, you have likely come across its myriad covers like Emilia Clarke’s rendition, or versions by Taylor Swift or Ariana Grande.

Now, what if we tell you that you are not supposed to listen to the holiday classic between 1 December and Christmas Eve? Confused, right? We will explain why people are refraining from hearing the song at this time of the year. Hint: It’s all because of Whamageddon!

What’s Whamaggedon?

Whamageddon is a “survival” game that has gained steam on social media over the years.

The rules of the game are pretty simple. You should not listen to Wham!’s ‘Last Christmas song between 1 December and midnight of 24 December. Sounds easy, right?

It is not, especially if you are in the United Kingdom. As per NBC News, ‘Last Christmas’ is the top-streamed holiday song in over 40 nations.

There is some relief though if you are quite fond of the song but want to play the game. Remixes, covers and other versions of the song do not count. Also, there are no prizes if you win.

If the player listens to Wham!’s 1984 hit, they are out. Many people take to social media to share how they got “whammed”.

The hashtag #Whamageddon has reportedly amassed more than 11 million views on TikTok. Some share their videos when they “die”, meaning hear the song, and get sent to “Whamhalla” – the end, according to CBS News.

If you are humming the song while reading this story, you are not alone.

Want to take the challenge and see if you will listen to the song?

The origin of ‘Whamageddon’

It all started almost two decades back with a group of friends in Denmark. Four friends – Thomas Mertz, Rasmus Leth Bjerre, Oliver Nøglebæk and Søren Gelineck – came up with the idea about 18 years ago when they noticed how ubiquitous the song was, reported the New York Times (NYT).

“We kind of realised this song was being played constantly, over and over. It was just in really heavy rotation. And instead of getting annoyed with it, we decided to make a game out of it and have a little bit of fun,” Mertz told CBS News.

In 2016, he created a Facebook page to see if others would be interested in the annual game and it “took off”. This page has over 16,000 followers currently.

The challenge turned into a hashtag and further exploded on social media after Wham! lead singer George Michael died in 2016.

“That created a social storm of attention that the next year kind of launched it into a much, much bigger thing than we ever imagined it could become,” Mertz told NPR.

There is also a website dedicated to the game. No, we are not kidding. Speaking to NYT, Mertz said it got over 500,000 visitors last year.

“It’s just a funny little thing that a couple of idiots from Denmark did to entertain themselves during Christmas”.

christmas
Last Christmas is the top-streamed holiday song in over 40 nations. Reuters (Representational Image)

So, does the creator of Whamageddon not like the Christmas classic? Actually, no. Mertz told NYT the game is not about disliking pop music or Christmas songs.

He said the inspiration for the game is rooted in the spirit of the holiday season and aims to bring people together through a hint of absurdity.

“A lot of people enjoy this snippet of levity we can inject into their lives in a very stressful period of the year. It’s not so much about winning as much as it is about being in a shared experience,” Mertz was quoted as saying by NBC News.

ALSO READ: In Graphics | What’s the history behind Santa Claus, the Christmas tree, and carols?

Craze of Whamageddon

The game has such huge popularity in Britain that a DJ had to apologise after playing the song at a soccer game on 2 December this year. He even received backlash over the incident.

“I never knew people took it so seriously. I gave it a spin, thinking it would be quite funny to wipe out 7,000 people who couldn’t avoid it, but clearly it isn’t funny,” DJ Matt Facer told BBC Radio.

For enthusiasts, there are also Whamageddon merchandise, including mugs and shirts.

In 2018, a pub chain in the UK pulled the song from its rotation so as not to ruin the challenge for its customers.

Save your tears if you have already heard the holiday classic. It is already a merry Christmas if Wham!’s music has made it to your ears.

With inputs from agencies

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