Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

Thanksgiving

November 24, 2022

Thanksgiving

Sorry to rain on your Thanksgiving Day Parade, but today’s holiday myth covers up lots of tragic history. Europeans were in contact with northern Atlantic Coast Native Americans long before that English religious cult landed in Massachusetts, and indigenous people paid a heavy price for it. There were earlier meetings between native peoples and French and Basque fishermen and whalers, and Giovanni da Verrazzano documented contacts with native peoples in the Carolinas, New York Bay, and Narragansett Bay in 1544. John Smith met the Powhatans in 1608. Henry Hudson met Mohican people in 1609. The Spanish were as deadly to the indigenous nations of Florida as they had been in the Southwest and Southern Hemisphere.

Six years before the Mayflower, in 1614, Captain Thomas Hunt visited Massachusetts, where he abducted two dozen Wampanoag people from Patuxet and brought them to Spain for sale as slaves. One of them learned English and worked in Newfound as a translator in 1616, and on the New England Coast, which had been depopulated due to diseases brought by Europeans, in 1619. The man, Tisquantum, called Squanto by the English, remained, and was there when the so-called Pilgrims arrived in 1620. He helped the newcomers establish a mutual defense pact with the remaining Wampanoag people, as they and the English were threatened by the much larger Narraganset nation. They had a meal during their meeting, the mythic basis for today’s gluttonous orgy of stuffed turkey, candied yams, and pumkin pie.

Fifty years later, the good Christian people of Plimouth Colony attacked their native allies, killed their chieftain, and displayed his severed head on a pole in their settlement. They celebrated that event on June 29, 1676 with (you guessed it) a feast of thanksgiving.

More:

“Before Plymouth Colony and the Pilgrims, There Was Patuxet,” Virginia Williams, Atlas Obscura

“The rise of Thankstaking,” Russell Contreras, Axios

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High-Ticket Turkeys This Thanksgiving

November 15, 2022

High-Ticket Turkeys This Thanksgiving
A nationwide pandemic has raised the price of your Thanksgiving turkey this year. No, not that one. Rampant Avian influenza killed millions of birds practically overnight and forced farmers to euthanized hundreds of thousands more to curb further infection. All told, six million turkeys were killed, about 14 percent of the nation’s total turkey production. Prices will rise this year, perhaps as much as 70% percent.

— “Turkeys will cost more because 6 million of them died during bird flu outbreak,” By Erica Werner and Laura Reiley, Washington Post

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Armistice Day

November 11, 2022

Armistice Day

Today Veterans Day is observed in the United States. It was originally named Armistice Day and commemorated the time the agreement to stop The Great War was signed, at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. After World War I failed to be The War to End All Wars, the U.S. observance was officially renamed Veterans Day in 1954, probably because veterans of later wars vote and dead WWI soldiers don’t, and we already had Memorial Day. Britain still commemorates the WWI Armistice and those who died to achieve it, and today it is known as Remembrance Day in Commonwealth nations.

More:

“History of Veterans Day,” U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

“A day by many names, celebrated all the same,” Jason Duhr, Stars and Stripes

(more…)

Indigenous Peoples’ Day

October 10, 2022

Indigenous Peoples’ Day

October 10, 2022 is Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the United States. For most Americans, anyway. Some people haven’t discovered it yet.

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Labor Day To-Do List

September 5, 2022

Labor Day To-Do List

Happy Labor Day. Now that September is upon us, remember:

1. The 2022 NFL season starts Thursday, September 8th. Get snacks & beer.

2. Air out woolens.

3. Buy leaf bags.

4. Do not wear white shoes after September 5th. 
Persons in the continental United States wearing white shoes past that date are assumed to be illegal aliens from the Southern Hemisphere, and will be treated accordingly. You have been warned.

More:

“Why Can’t You Wear White After Labor Day?” Kathy Benjamin, Mental Floss

“The Reason(s) Behind the No-White-After-Labor-Day Rule (Blame the One Percent!),” John Surico, Village Voice

Why We Can’t Wear White After Labor Day,” Laura Fitzpatrick, Time

Related:

“When Labor Day Meant Something,” Chad Broughton, The Atlantic

“How Labor Day Was Celebrated When Unions Were on the Rise,” Eliza Berman, TIME

“Early Labor Day parades included cigar-making, beer, and proposed live animal slaughter,” Phil Edwards, Vox

“Americans’ support for labor unions at highest in nearly 60 years,” Erum Salam, The Guardian

“8 facts about American workers,” Sara Kehaulani Goo, Pew Research Center

“US unions are shrinking. These 7 charts show what that means.” Danielle Kurtzleben, Vox

“Why white men hate unions,” Edward McClelland, Salon

“More Workers Are Claiming ‘Wage Theft,’” Steve Greenhouse,New York Times

“No union mines left in Kentucky, where labor wars once raged,” Dylan Lovan, Associated Press

“Workers Organize, but Don’t Unionize, to Get Protection Under Labor Law,” Steven Greenhouse. New York Times

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Labor Day

September 5, 2022

Big Bill Haywood

“Every dollar that the boss did not work for, one of us worked for a dollar and didn’t get it.”

William “Big Bill” Haywood

Related:

“What Is Labor Day? A History of the Workers’ Holiday,” Karen Zraick, New York Times

“Most Americans view unions favorably, though few workers belong to one,” Drew DeSilver, Pew Research Center

“Unions struggle in the courts, but they have a fighting chance in the streets,” Barry Eidlin, Washington Post

“Americans’ support for labor unions at highest in nearly 60 years,” Erum Salam, The Guardian

“A Labor Day Reflection on Unions, Race, and Division,” Dan Kaufman, The New Yorker

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4th of July

July 4, 2022

Star Swain of Tallahassee visits the Lincoln Memorial.

Happy Independence Day.

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Juneteenth

June 20, 2022
Juneteenth

(General Orders. Department of Texas June 19, 1865)

Today is officially “Juneteeth, Observed,” a federal holiday, but yesterday was the historical holiday. On June 19, 1865, Union general Gordon Granger sailed into Galveston and issued General Order Number 3, which began: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.” This ended the legal institution of chattel slavery in the former Confederate States, two years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, 10 weeks after Appomattox.

Contrary to popular belief, Juneteenth didn’t end slavery in the United States. It still existed in states which hadn’t seceded from the Union, like Kentucky, New Jersey, and Delaware, until January 1, 1866, six months later, when the 13th Amendment became effective. Slavery among the tribes of Indian Territory (today’s Oklahoma) did not effectually end until August 1866.

More:

“Juneteenth: Our Other Independence Day,” Kenneth C. Davis, Smithsonian.com

“Juneteenth,” Teresa Palomo Acosta, Handbook of Texas Online

“Juneteenth,” Stephanie Hall, Folklife Today

“What Is Juneteenth?” Henry Louis Gates, Jr., PBS

“Juneteenth,” Teresa Palomo Acosta, Handbook of Texas History

“The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth,” NMAAHC

Related:

“Freedmen’s Bureau,” Cecil Harper, Jr., Handbook of Texas History

Updates:

“Juneteenth holiday marking the end of slavery becomes law after decades of inaction,” Seung Min Kim, Washington Post

“How the US Military Helped Create the Juneteenth Holiday,” Blake Stilwell, Military.com

“When Did Slavery Really End in the United States?” J. Gordon Hylton, Marquette University Law School Faculty Blog

“Here are the four myths of Juneteenth that are not based on facts,” John Burnett, NPR

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Memorial Day 2022

May 30, 2022

Memorial Day 2022

Today is Memorial Day in the United States, a holiday once known as Decoration Day, the time to remember those who fell in defense of our country.  Memorial Day is now officially observed on a Monday to form a three-day holiday weekend, and the original significance has been distilled down to a 60-second Moment of Remembrance.

But there are 259,199 more minutes to a three-day weekend, and human nature abhors a semantic vacuum, so the holiday has acquired meanings in other realms:

Ceremony: Solemn ritual processions.

Ritual garb: White footwear.

Nutrition: Ceremonial meals.

Transportation: The Brickyard.

Economics:  Door-Busters.

Calendar: Memorial Day is the official Unofficial Start of Summer.

The National Moment of Remembrance is at 3:00 PM to 3:01 PM (local time in each time zone) on Monday, May 30, 2022. U.S. Code, Title 36,114, Stat. 3078, Sec.(2)(7): “… reclaim Memorial Day as the sacred and noble event that that day is intended to be.”

For more about the origins of Memorial Day, see Burying the Dead but Not the Past by Dr. Caroline Janney.

Related:

“The forgotten history of Memorial Day,” Richard Gardiner, Quartz

“Why Memorial Day is often confused with Veterans Day (but shouldn’t be),” Valerie Strauss, Washington Post

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Cinco de Mayo, fiesta grande en los Estados Unidos

May 5, 2022

Cinco de Mayo, fiesta grande en los Estados Unidos

Cinco de Mayo, the 5th of May, is the biggest Mexican holiday in the entire United States. Oh sure, the holiday commemorates the 1862 Battle of Puebla, so kids in that Mexican city get the day off to watch a parade, and gringo-infested beach resorts may get a little loco, but the rest of Mexico carries on as usual.

North of the border, it’s a different story. The community-based Mexican-American celebrations of the Sixties were co-opted by marketers for big brewers, tequila importers, and mega-food purveyors. In other words, it’s St. Patrick’s Day with mariachis. Is this a great country, or what?

More:

“Cinco de Mayo: A History Obscured by Beers and Burritos,” Jason Ruiz, Long Beach Post

“U.S. Marketers Turn Cinco de Mayo Into Pan-Ethnic National Celebration, Joel Millman, Wall Street Journal

“How Corona Made Cinco de Mayo an American Holiday,” Adam Teeter, VinePair 

“Does Mexico Celebrate Cinco De Mayo? Find Out How Holiday Became Mainstream,” Susmita Baral, Latin Times

“Mexicans don’t understand why you are celebrating Cinco de Mayo,” Allison Jackson, GlobalPost

“Why is Cinco de Mayo More Popular in America Than in Mexico?” Brian Greene, U.S. News & World Report

“Gringo de Mayo,” Gustavo Arellano, OC Weekly

“Cinco de Mayo: A New American Holiday,” Cesar M. Melgoza,Huffington Post

“Cinco De Mayo: Whose Holiday Is It, Anyway?” NPR

“How Not to Be Awful This Cinco de Mayo,” Kelly Williams Brown,Daily Beast

 

Note: ¿Chilaquiles? Mira aquí.

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