Thursday, November 22, 2007

from Wallbank's Almanack of Holidays: "Thanksgivening"

'As a Fall festival, the history of Thanksgivening is ancient. Almost as old as Fall. Even before Fall was known as "Autumn." Try it in a Manhattan.Or "Fiona."
'The first recorded celebration of this festive time was found in a bundle of beads wrapped in a sheep's bladder and used as a rattle by a dancer during the Greretan festival of Ptomain. The beads described a party at King Gus of Syrlebtamia's Summer palace, which looked down upon the stadium where popular games were played. Gus' sons, Princes Ryan and Logan, had taken a long chillax weekend towards the end of the month of Games, before the Summer palace was closed up and all the booze and linens removed. Spectators who were not lucky enough to attend the Palace's game-watching event parked in the stadium lot and ate layered fowl and fruit sandwiches off the backs of their chariots. With a heady ale. (Since they ate behind their mounts, the slang term "tail-eating" was established. Tail-ating. Tail-gating. You know.) Their food festival became the basis for what moderns know as a first step toward the beginning of a Thanksgivening-like ur-Thanksgivening. Or that might be something else.
'As has often been the case with holidays (what with the "holi-" part and all), Those Darn Popes™ got involved with the surprise addition of the "Thanks" aspect of the program by Pope Adrian VI in 1523.Pope Adrian, monk In an effort to obscure the corruption endemic to the papacy at the time, Adrian, a former monk, insisted that, during his tenure, no one shake his hands, one should use only one kind of holy water, and one should constantly say "Thank You." (Adrian's successor, Pope Leland, abrogated the order by creating a single-day "thanking period.")
'As the New World opened up to settlers, sof-serve ice cream and mini-golf, a group of emmigrants in search of another group to denigrate due to religious differences was given a "Yeah Right, You Just Do That" order by King James of England. Schoolchildren know the story of the First Thanksgiving, so this chronicleer will not recount those lies here. (Of course we all tingle with delight at the vision of happy unexpected immigrants sharing the largess of friendly natives. As long as the immigrants have buckles on their hats.) It is now well-known that the holiday we call Thanksgivening didn't really catch on until the pilgrim colonists left Plymouth and traveled to the mouth of the Hudson River, which is where they were supposed to go in the first place.
'The pilgrims prepared to pillage the native settlement they found on the island (Manhattan, at that time known as "Mahna-Mahna-Hattan") just as they had that first time when they landed at Provincetown (which one of them kept calling "Providence" until she was given a map, a quahog, and a coffee milk.)
'Once upon the island at the mouth of the Hudson, William Macy and the rest of the crew paraded their intentions up and down the broad way that was the only street open at the time (because of the strike). Macy's descendants saw to it that Thanksgivening eventually was named "Macy's Day" and the traditional parade goes on. A huge effigy used by the settlers trying to scare the original MahnaMahnaHattanites

Captain Wallbank’s Almanack is not intended to be used as reference material for school projects, masters theses, magazine and newspaper articles, partisan hack radio talk shows, commencement addresses, congressional testimonies, valedictory speeches, catechism classes, or, especially, as an authorized authority for bets involving someone buying someone a drink.

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