Saturday, November 26, 2005

And Two Dollars Short, Too.

Today isn't Thursday, so this isn't so timely anymore, but I'm not going to let that stop me. I'm unstoppable.

We're at least still closer to Thanksgiving than to any other major holiday, so I want to take the (diminishing) opportunity to note a couple of related points.

First, a commendably inquisitive friend of mine recently demanded to know why we in the U.S. celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday, of all days of the week. Not some day during or adjacent to the actual weekend but Thursday, which, let's face it, is the only day of the week less obscure and mundane than Tuesday. She was already familiar with much of the holiday's history (recounted here) but wanted to know who picked Thursday, specifically, and why.

The best explanation I could come up with is on this page, which includes the following:
The Puritans introduced the regularity, calling for a religious-based feast of thanksgiving, using Thursday, because it coincided with a time in which worshipers would be at church {This would be similar to Wednesday night services, today in the US; moreover, in some Anglican countries, such as South Africa, Thursday is still “Church Night”}. Church in the morning and a feast in the late afternoon became a New England tradition. A National day of thanksgiving was proclaimed by General George Washington after the victory at Saratoga (NY); but, not until after the War between the States was a National Thanksgiving practice set in place.
My friend pointed out that Thursday worship didn't likely last into the days of Abraham Lincoln, who made Thanksgiving an annual national holiday. I agree and doubt that it even lasted into the nineteenth century to any significant degree. It was probably just the basis for Thursday as the day Thanksgiving was celebrated in the Puritan era, and an informal tradition of the holiday being celebrated on that day persisted after the actual church custom ended, making it the day already unofficially used when individual states started making it official in the 19th century and then likewise when Lincoln ultimately made it official nationally in 1863.

As to why my Thanksgiving post goes up on Saturday, there's a much simpler explanation: procrastination. That being acknowledged, there are a few things I'd like to give some thanks for here.

Certainly I've got a number of things to be thankful for in my personal life, but in the specific context of this blog, I do feel gratitude to a number of people for various reasons. I'm happy, of course, for the people who made Blogger and Blogspot free and easy, allowing me to publish on the web as I am. But as none of those people know who I am, it rather mutes my gratitude. Let's not dwell on them.

I'm thankful for each personal friend and to each blogger who raised questions or issues in my mind that drove me to learn something and to write something. Such people include but are by no means limited to Christian Scales, Eric Norris, Bill McCabe, John Owen, as well as the above-mentioned kindred spirit to Arthur Dent.

I'm thankful for each person who leaves a comment on any post I put up. (OK, except for La Bona, I guess.) I love getting feedback, and I love seeing that something I wrote meant enough to someone for them to add a comment. Lately, that's mostly been Laura, and I hope she'll keep it up, but she wasn't the first, and I trust that as I increase the content I provide here, she'll be outnumbered by others. To everyone who comments, thank you.

I'm thankful for everyone who's linked to me, directing others to this site. Those include, among others, Bill McCabe, Fr. Rob Johannsen, Andrea Harris, Bill Ardolino, John Owen, Lemuel Kolkava, and, recently, this woman. I'm always grateful for recognition and appreciation.

And finally, I'm thankful for anyone taking the time to read this stuff at all and especially for those who like it well enough to return and check back on what new I might have written. You few know who you are, even if I don't always.

Happy unThursday.

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