John the Baptizer

The great figure of Advent is John the Baptist.  We think of him as that harsh, say-it-like-it-is prophet who ate insects.  But what he preached was repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  Which he conveyed by baptism. [Read more...]

Advent do’s and don’t’s

More from Mollie Hemingway,  Forget The War On Christmas, The War On Advent Is Worse in The Federalist:

1) Advent is for preparation. Christmas is for partying. So that means Christmas parties should take place during Christmas. Christmas parties should not take place during Advent. You get 12 full days when hardly anyone is working to party all you want. Use them. [Read more...]

The War On Advent

Mollie Hemingway has written (way back in October) a piece in the Federalist about what she calls “The War on Advent.”   Besides having the makings of a holiday classic, it makes a fine introduction to this all-but-forgotten season. [Read more...]

A holiday for adults

Folklorist Jack Santino observes that Thanksgiving is pretty much the only national holiday that hasn’t shifted its focus to children.  In fact, they are often shunted off to the “kids’ table.”  The emphasis instead is on grandparents, patriarchs and matriarchs, family traditions going back for generations, and blessings that adults are in the best position to savor. [Read more...]

Why Ben Franklin preferred the Turkey to the Eagle

“For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perch’d on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.

“With all this Injustice, he is never in good Case but like those among Men who live by Sharping & Robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank Coward…

“I am, on this account, not displeas’d that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turky. For in truth, the Turky is in comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America… He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.”

–Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to his daughter, 1784,referring in the last paragraph to a picture of an eagle that looks more like a turkey.)

via Barbecue Turkey And Grilled Turkey: The Ultimate Smoked Turkey Recipe.

So, among other things, he was being funny, as was his wont.

Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

Thanksgiving Proclamation

Issued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

[Read more...]


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