Thursday, November 22, 2007
A few Thanksgiving factoids:
- Black Friday is not the busiest shopping day of the year: Between 1993 and 2002, it cracked the top five just three times, never rising higher than the fourth-busiest day of the year. Americans love to procrastinate: Eight years out of 10, the busiest day fell on the Saturday before Christmas.
- The song "Alice's Restaurant Massacree" (aka "Alice's Restaurant") by Arlo Guthrie's is based on a true story that began on Thanksgiving Day. The song lasts 18 minutes and 20 seconds, and occupied the entire A-side of Guthrie's 1967 debut record album, titled Alice's Restaurant. (full lyrics here)
- Another myth: The US invented Thanksgiving. Turns out that humans have been holding harvest festivals for ages. In ancient times, Middle Eastern peoples offered wheat to "The Great Mother" or "Mother of the Wheat." In medieval times, central Europeans celebrated their harvests at Feast of Saint Martin on November 11th.
-The original feast in 1621 occurred sometime between September 21 and November 11. Unlike our modern holiday, it was three days long. The event was based on English harvest festivals, which traditionally occurred around the 29th of September. President Franklin D. Roosevelt set the date for Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday of November in 1939 (approved by Congress in 1941). Abraham Lincoln had previously designated it as the last Thursday in November.
-And if you think your family is crazy, remember this: each year, the Aztecs would behead a young girl representing Xilonen, the corn goddess.
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