Thursday, November 22, 2012

(American) Thanksgiving.

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States - but not in Canada, which celebrates its own Thanksgiving Day in October. Though it has been a fairly ordinary Thursday here in Toronto, I've noticed that some area retailers are gearing up for their own version of "Black Friday," seeking to draw Canadian consumers who would otherwise go south of the border tomorrow to find holiday bargains. American Thanksgiving and Black Friday have received relatively little attention here; the big news lately has been the 100th Grey Cup championship game, which will be played this coming Sunday at the Rogers Centre, pitting the hometown Toronto Argonauts against the Calgary Stampeders.

For this year's Thanksgiving post, I wanted to share something on the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation, an annual White House event at which the President of the United States is publicly presented with a live turkey (which in recent years has customarily received a presidential pardon, presumably sparing him or her from being killed and eaten for the holiday meal). The National Archives blog Prologue: Pieces of History has a post providing more details on the history of the Turkey Presentation as well as more information on White House Thanksgiving traditions.

Of the photos included with the Prologue post, my favorite had to be the above image of the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation held in the White House in 1967. This is a delightfully strange image: the ceremony takes place not outside in the Rose Garden (inclement weather, perhaps?) but indoors (the bird's feathers must have made quite a mess), the poor turkey has been made to wear a macabre sign around its neck ("Good Eating, Mr. President"), and the positioning of the microphone at lower left makes it look like the bird is going to give a statement (maybe something like, 'Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori'). President Johnson and his guests also display a kind of dour seriousness that seems to betray a sober respect for the bird's imminent act of sacrifice.

My prayerful best wishes are with all who celebrate Thanksgiving today. AMDG.


Post a Comment

<< Home