Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day in the United States of America. It is a sort of harvest festival which has become rather more important in America than its equivalent is in Britain. I am told that it starts something called the “holiday season”, which means, I think, that Christmas gets going on Thanksgiving Day (the period of fasting in preparation for Christmas known as Advent – which begins on Sunday – has effectively been abolished in the entire western world).
Why should we, in Britain, celebrate American harvests? Well, to be fair, most of us don’t. But, every year, more and more Britons do. Only today I met a charming young woman (as English as you could imagine) who told me she and her family would be celebrating Thanksgiving a couple of days late, on Saturday. I didn’t interrogate her on her strange announcement: she might have thought me rude to do so. But I was bemused.
And then there is something called “Black Friday”. That, too, is an American institution. It happens on the day after Thanksgiving (although I suspect it is of rather more recent origin than Thanksgiving itself). It is a day on which American shops get rid of all the items which no one wants to buy by offering them at knock-down prices.
Black Friday has now come to the UK. My email box is full of messages from British shops telling me about their wonderful Black Friday offers.
Are we all now American? I fear we are. The young are all convinced that everything American (except her new President) is perfect.
But, speaking for myself, I don’t really fancy the idea of over-eating turkey just a month before I have to do it again on Christmas day. I hope I won’t be thought a spoil-sport when I say that I would prefer to celebrate our own harvest festival rather earlier than late November.