22 November 2011

This Year, Why Not Celebrate Tradsgiving?

It's that time of year again, as we approach that unique mix of secular and religious occasions that are amorphously called the Holiday Season.  First we have Thanksgiving, the closest that a secular holiday gets to decent religion.  We are informed that this holiday was first celebrated by the pilgrims (though the Spanish claim it was celebrated earlier in St. Augustine, FL; trot out this little gem at Thanksgiving and you will deservedly be ridiculed for the Cliff Clavin that you are), but it was officially installed as a national holiday on a set date by Abraham Lincoln in 1863, who saw fit to mandate thankfulness for the Northern victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg.  FDR, another wallflower reluctant to impose national solutions, later changed the date to the fourth Thursday in November.

Next, we have the annual mass-worship of the god Retail, known by its remarkably descriptive name of Black Friday.  The portents of this holy day are scanned, analyzed and reverently feared, as the blessings or curses of Retail are made known.  It is a most amusing mix of Baal worship, Aztec heart surgery, and Groundhog Day-- only six more shopping weeks until Christmas Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or some other nondescript Winter celebratory event!

This spectacle is immediately followed by the rush to put out obnoxious Christmas lights, blow up dolls, and other lawn paraphernalia way ahead of the actual day-- thus assuring that by St. Stephen's Day we will be thoroughly sick of it all, and take it all down.  I once read a blog post about this that I, at least, found amusing.

That same weekend marks the first real religious event of significance:  the first Sunday of Advent.  Maintaining an Advent spirit is obviously a difficult thing to do when most people don't believe in Christmas itself, let alone the need for a time of penance and preparation preceding it.  Still worse, nearly everyone, whether he believes or not, goes ahead and starts celebrating it anyway.  Some really love Christmas and just can't wait, and others are burning Christmas decorations and songs to the god Retail.  Either way, you can't escape the forced merriment.

Finally, at the end of the year, the real honest-to-goodness--Feast of Christmas comes.  This feast is obviously one of the most important of the Church calendar.  It has an Octave.  It has an historical season that stretches to the Epiphany on January 6 (unless you attend the novus ordo, in which case it stretches to the least offensive Sunday with decent weather).  It has a liturgical season that extends to the Feast of the Purification of Mary on February 2nd.  February 2nd-- the day your wife begins talking to you again after begging you to take down the tree for three weeks.

Well, pardon, gentles all, if I re-label the holiday season this year.  I'm not referring to Festivus, either.  I'm talking about Tradsgiving.  If the world can lump every occasion into one long season, then so can we. Tradsgiving is the celebration of the next two-and-a-half months.  Let's say it begins with Martinmas on November 11 and continues to the Feast of the Purification on February 2.  Tradsgiving is stocked with traditional Catholic feasts and customs.

First of all, this is as good a time a year as any to be thankful for Summorum Pontificum.  Next, we have a real commemoration of Advent, including the Wreath, the Novena to the Immaculate Conception, the great Marian feast itself, and the now discarded Ember Days on December 14, 16, and 17.  These are followed by  the "O Antiphons" in the in the breviary the Octave before Christmas.

Finally, beginning on Christmas Day, there are so many rich Catholic traditions:  Midnight Mass, the veneration of the relic of the Creche, the tree and the carols, all the great Saint days in the Octave and beyond (including the blessing of wine on St. John's Day); the feast of the Circumcision, Twelfth Night, Epiphany (with the blessing of Epiphany water, chalk and the blessing of homes), the Holy Name, the Holy Family, the Feast of St. Francis de Sales and, lastly and gloriously, the feast of the Purification of Mary (Candlemas), with the blessing of Candles and the commemoration of the Purification and the Presentation of Our Lord.

So why not just step right up and call it all what it is?  It used to just be known as the seasons of Advent and Christmas-- back when the Church retained her prerogative to mark the seasons of the year according to her ancient cycle.  But maybe we need a new tag to reclaim this most Catholic of seasons for Catholics who want to mark it.

Happy Tradsgiving, everyone!


Badger Catholic said...


Allison said...

LUV this! Shared on multiple facebook pages and twitter. Thanks for the sanity.

Peggy IL said...

Wow. You covered it all here! You know Black Friday has bled into Thanksgiving night. Good on Target employees for protesting, though it may not get them anywhere. The spokes lady for the National Retail Federation actually said these people should just be glad they have a job, and suck it up. Nice, lady. I bet she won't be working.

Debbie said...

It suddenly occurs to me that Black Friday is the Advent equivalent of Mardi Gras.

Latinmassgirl said...


Enjoy your turkey dinner with your family just like the rest of us. I'm sure you'll enjoy it too. I know I will. I might even break my own rule and go shopping on Black Friday as I need some good deals. Well, maybe I don't need them that badly. Internet shopping is so much easier.

Tom Sauk said...

No mention of St. Nicholas?!?!

Alison said...

Nice post. I think it is great that we celebrate a holiday started by Protestants and Indians who both would not celebrate Christmas. I understand that the first Christmas for the Pilgrams in Plymouth was on a Monday. The sailors that brought the Pilgrims over did celebrate with beer and song. Guess the North American Indians who had the Black Robes come had the most to be thankful for.

HSMom said...

:) Happy TG to theTimmans.

StGuyFawkes said...

To all,
Once again another Traditionalist-anti-American attack on a U.S. Holiday!

O Tempora! O Mores!

Am I the only one who sees the connection between Tim's failure of patriotism and last summer's historical revisionist attack on The Fourth of July which Tim cleverly hid under a post which mourned the Confederacy's loss of Vicksburg on July 4th.

If you remember that thread, it was a hard fought blog battle but if any of you remember I DID ESTABLISH THAT THE EADS BRIDGE WAS CONNECTED TO HEGEL!!!!

(Let me stop and take my meds.)

Anyway, Thanksgiving is Thanksgiving and it's here to stay and taking it out is like a Historical Critical reading of the New Testament. You just can't take out things that once slipped in for no reason. Like protestants.

St. Guy

Anonymous said...

My only question is whether the Pius XII indult applies to this, too. :-)

Happy Tradsgiving, Timman, to you and your family!


Anonymous said...


Jeff said...

Don't forget the overplayed repetitive Christmas songs that are heard on the radio stations day in and day out until 12/26. Unfortunately Jackson 5, Bruce Springsteen, and the Beach Boys just don't do it for me. Why is it we hear the same songs over and over? There are so many better songs out there and frankly (including you Mr. Sinatra), all I wish to do is change the channel!

Give me some A Capella traditional songs (unfortunately not heard on the radio) any day.