GobbleNOW: A Very Panther Thanksgiving (and Black Friday)

Gooble 'til you wobble and join PantherNOW as we explore Thanksgiving as we know it today, courtesy of FDR. | From the Library of Congress

Conor Moore and Kaysea Suzana | PantherNOW Staff

Gobble until you wobble, Panthers, and keep the gravy train rolling, because Thanksgiving and Black Friday, two holidays that will fill your belly as much as they will empty your wallet, are here in full force this coming season.

The origins of Thanksgiving as a holiday trace back to the Pilgrims and Wampanoag people, but we at PantherNOW aren’t here to recite fourth-grade history lessons – so let’s skip to where all good stories start, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States (and second Roosevelt to be president).

Roosevelt, who was married to his fifth cousin once removed Eleanor (it doesn’t really count at that point), conducted some funny business in the late 30s during the Great Depression (with a petition to change it to the “Big Sad”), he moved the date of Thanksgiving to an entire week earlier. Blasphemy. 

This period of Thanksgiving uproar is known as “Franksgiving”.

The reason being? To expand the shopping season. That particular November had five, rather than four Thursdays. President Roosevelt wanted to get the people off their horse-drawn buggies and on their feet spending like the good little consumers the American people are.

However, smaller, local stores were not a fan of this change, and there were borderline riots over such a pernicious kerfuffle, according to documents from Marist College’s FDR Library.

Luckily, the protests over such an ignoble, dastardly and simply unwieldy change of holiday pace caused Congress to ratify a bill officially declaring the celebration of Thanksgiving to be on the last Thursday of November.

While the rationale of wanting people to shop when nobody had done so for the last ten years is not entirely disfavorable, the fourth, and typically last Thursday of the month is simply a sacred cow (or turkey) in the holiday season, and changing it would rotten the mood of the American people.

So what day comes after Thanksgiving? That’s right, Black Friday.

It is a curious etymological sensation, as “Black” has been applied to days or periods that mark something terrible, such as the Black Death, Black September, Black Wednesday, and so on.

It is a day known for everything being pitifully cheap, with a cornucopia of discounts and deals that can goad even Warren Buffet into reckless spending.

The only thing terrible on Black Friday is the state of the American people’s personal finances. After revving up the credit cards, there isn’t much left.
However, buy away shopaholics: accosted Walmart workers and diminished mall employees are a small price to pay for a brand-new PS5 or the latest palette from Sephora.

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