|The story of Thanksgiving: classic or big lie?|
1. They were boring.
2. They were less boring.
3. They were radically less boring (for children).
1. They were boring.
I'm not familiar with Native American customs re: holidays. I do know that the Puritans were not big fans of European/Christian holidays (and presumably nobody else's either). One of the things they threw overboard in their jaunts across the "pond" was holiday customs associated with Christmas, Easter, and what we now think of as Halloween.
The Puritans weren't simply being killjoys. In fact, many people who would eschew Puritan culture and beliefs would agree with their reasoning re: holidays. In England, most major holidays had become the equivalent of our New Year's Eve--with drinking and carousing and general, obnoxious heartiness. There was a commercial element (stronger in later centuries yet still present) whereby merchants made money off all the drinking and carousing and general, obnoxious heartiness.
The Puritans weren't the only ones who noticed and got annoyed--local governments were equally concerned. "Drinking," "carousing" and "heartiness" sound relatively benign until one adds in "soccer-fan-like hooliganism." Holidays had become actually dangerous.
If you are a bunch of Puritans trying to create a new, anti-high-church society, getting rid of holidays makes sense not only from a theological standpoint but from a civil order one.
|Sarah Josepha Hale|
Human nature being what it is, we need breaks from the daily grind. I find the Fall semester easier to handle than the Spring semester in terms of energy--it is a little under four months; it has nicely spaced holidays (Labor Day, Columbus Day, Halloween) with one large holiday (Thanksgiving), which still doesn't take up the whole week, ending with several large holidays, specifically Christmas.
The pace is perfect. The semester runs along at a jolly clip with enough "off" days to give students and teachers a "breather" but not too many "off" days to extend the semester too long. Plus there is enough common culture (specifically around Thanksgiving) for people to share stories and feel a common bond.
|Even the pagan gods on Supernatural|
|enjoy the cultural trappings of modern Christmases!|
Joseph Campbell once bemoaned the lack of a common "mythology" among Americans. I'm a fan of the effects of multiculturalism, one of which is a lack of a common "mythology." I'm also a fan of most separations of church & state (I don't support prayer in public school as a institutionalized feature, for example). But I do understand Campbell's unhappiness. In a secular culture, the Fall holidays focus more on common human conditions, such as harvesting and getting people through the dark days of the year, than on theological beliefs. Consequently, the Fall holidays create more unity as people transition from holiday to work to holiday again.
Common or not, that transition is necessary. And I love all holidays, so more will follow . . . !