Ah, Thanksgiving. Perhaps the lamest of the holidays that we commonly celebrate here in the United States. As I mentioned last year, it’s basically a harvest festival, but the specifically American story of the First Thanksgiving involves dissenters from the Church of England who sailed to what is now Massachusetts. They settled in the village of Patuxet, which was conveniently empty because all of its residents had died of disease. One of the Patuxet, a man named Squanto, had been taken to England to be a slave, but was eventually freed and made his way back home, only to find that everyone he knew had died.
He apparently also learned that it was good a idea to pack heat when dealing with the white man.
Since he spoke English, he was able to serve as an ombudsman between the colonists and the Wampanoag who lived in the area. The first Thanksgiving in 1621 (probably not actually the first celebrated on the American continent, by the way) celebrated the cooperation between the Europeans and the Native Americans, and is now commemorated in elementary school classrooms by having some of the kids wear paper Pilgrim hats, and the others paper feathered headbands. Or at least that was the case when I was in elementary school.
Looks like these kids are having a blast, huh?
Over the years, however, it’s come to be less about harvests and cooperation, and more about being forced to see relatives when you’d really rather not. The casual name for Thanksgiving is Turkey Day, even though it has nothing to do with the nation of Turkey, founded in 1923. No, seriously, the birds are apparently called turkeys because the first Europeans to see them confused them with guineafowl, which were imported into Europe by way of Turkey. Let’s hear it for mistaken identity!
Hey, they can’t attack us! They’re part of NATO!
The day after Thanksgiving has come to be known as Black Friday, allegedly because it’s when retailers start to get back into the black in terms of profits. While this may be true, I have to suspect that the name has darker connotations. The day is celebrated by orgies of chaos in retail outlets across the country, in which people trample each other in their quest for apparently meaningless tokens. My best guess is that this is an ancient ritual in honor of some long-forgotten dark god, which is still performed annually despite the fact that nobody remembers why. No one seems to do anything to prevent it, either, which must mean the ceremony is casually accepted by a society that normally thrives on law and order. There are dark forces at work here, and delving too far into its terrible origins has been known to drive great minds mad.
Dread Cthulhu rises from the sunken city of Rl’yeh, so he can get his tentacles on amazing bargains!