It’s been a fairly quiet Thanksgiving weekend for me personally. I spent the day itself at my mom’s house where she hosted me and a few of her friends, and I spent most of the day alternating between going online and being attacked by her two Leonbergers. Saturday, Nat and Tim took me to the movies (The Men Who Stare At Goats, I liked it a lot) and dinner for a better-late-than-never birthday thing, and then I went to Leeron and (now a Grove member) Matt’s annual gaming party and stayed until 2 AM. Okay, maybe a little intense, but it still fits the “quiet” description. >8)
I didn’t go out shopping on Black Friday, more from lack of money and general tendency to avoid crowded spaces than from any objection to the concept of a shopping holiday. If we live in a consumer society, then a civic holiday for people to go wild in their consumer behavior makes perfect sense to me. It’s like Lupercalia but with less sex and more electronics! (Less sex and more electronics, wait a minute, that sounds like if *I* ran Lupercalia…)
And yes, I do know about Buy Nothing Day, and I actually used to take part in it back when it was held earlier in the year. A day of abstinence/fasting from one of the culture’s dominant activities can also be meaningful, and give us new insights. I gave up on it when they pushed it to Black Friday, though. Hearing a bunch of middle to upper-middle class people telling all of the country’s poor folks to abstain from shopping on the one day of the year when prices are their lowest is arrogant at best. If I were determined to overthrow the capitalist paradigm or some such, then maybe I’d see the appeal of going head to head with the other holiday, but I’m not, so I don’t. And having a holiday whose sole purpose is to oppose someone else’s holiday isn’t a direction I’d want to go in either. What’s next, is someone going to have a big free buffet right next to a Catholic church on Good Friday, or in daylight hours near a mosque during Ramadan? If the folks who run BND ever move it back to its original date, I’ll likely take part again, until then I will decline.
Lest it seems like I’m only thinking of everyone else’s holiday, yep, Yule is nearly here! Our first ritual planning session is on Tuesday. Two of our new/old members have some ideas on working traditional Saturnalia activities into our usual ritual, and I’m intrigued by the possibilities. Check here next week for the results, or better yet be there on Tuesday and help us decide!
Rev. Rob Henderson
Senior Druid, Shining Lakes Grove, ADF