Saturday, November 26, 2005

I Would Like To Give Thanks... money, because without money we would have no annual Thanksgiving ceremony.

A little Thanksgiving history, if you will.

The Thanksgiving feast actually began as a Thanksgiving fast. It was an annual ritual just before the onset of the harsh New England winters, through which the autumn harvests rarely lasted. People went hungry and died. And so to commemorate those who had died in previous winters and to express solidarity before the upcoming struggle, colonial Americans would fast for three days: the weekly Sabbath, the Day of Humiliation and Fasting, and the Day of Thanksgiving and Praise. At the time it began, in the 1600s, America was populated by Puritans and religious extremists (unlike today), so worshipers in the fast would humble themselves before the Lord and thank Him for sparing them the previous year. As immigration made the country more diverse, however, the fast gradually took a more secular bent.

A century later, once the American insurgency, bolstered by the French navy, sufficiently demonstrated that regime change starts at home, lawmakers in the new government moved to make the annual fast an official holiday. One wealthy landowner stood before the plenary session of the assembly and proclaimed that the country had grown beyond such sufferings. The country was gaining wealth and territory, it's people doing better. Surely, he said, this is a time to indulge.

And in a vote that few realised would establish the character and behaviour of the infant nation for centuries to come, lawmakers raised their drumsticks in support of indulgence.

The 'Aye's had it. Sure, they kept a fast day to appease the fundamentalist movements, but the fast largely lost its significance, lasting until the 1860s when President Lincoln finally emancipated our waistlines along with the blacks.

Which brings us forward to today. When I look at all that America has on its plate today, I am thankful that I am as far away as I can be from its table without having to learn a new language.

6 Mewling Pricks

At 2:54 am, Blogger lucretius ejaculated...

Just a point of geography--wouldn't you be farther away from the continental United States in Australia than in Great Britain?

Of course, one could hardly classify Australian as a fully integrated dialect of the mother tongue.

At 4:10 am, Blogger Andraste ejaculated...

"America was populated by Puritans and religious extremists (unlike today)"


At 11:34 am, Blogger Snotty McShot ejaculated...

Luc, you forget that not only are there questions as to the nature of the Australian lingo, there are punchline considerations to take into account also.

At 10:53 pm, Blogger Hugs O'Toole ejaculated...

Continental United States, sure. But for a frustrated Hawaiian, Australia is a great beacon of hope just a belch and a holler away.

At 6:31 am, Blogger Labbie ejaculated...

African Americans. Blacks is too 1970's and 80's. It's all about the AA's.

And you can't get away from McDonald's (the epitome of over-indulgence) no matter where you go. Even downtown Beirut has one, for fuck's sake!

At 3:40 pm, Blogger Snotty McShot ejaculated...



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