Photo credit: Annika Haas (EU2017EE) (CC BY 2.0

Fine Gael: Hey lads, let’s make Thanksgiving a bank holiday

Thanksgiving as an Irish bank holiday is truly a brown-nosing, genuflecting gesture absolutely no one has ever asked for – not even Americans. But that didn’t deter our pals in Fine Gael from suggesting this shiny new way to further water down Irish culture.

“Are you in favour of a Thanksgiving Bank Holiday on Monday, 29th November?,” the party tweeted yesterday, accompanied with a picture of a turkey.

“Have your say in our #Covid19 commemoration survey.”

Now, leaving aside the fact that the date they gave for Thanksgiving is incorrect, one really has to ask: why on God’s green earth would Ireland celebrate the American tradition of Thanksgiving? Are they trying to lure Katherine Zappone back to Ireland for questioning or what?

I mean, don’t get me wrong; America is a great country, and a great friend to Ireland. They deserve a sense of national pride and holidays like anyone else – more power to them on that front. But Thanksgiving is a tradition dating back to the American Pilgrim Fathers in the 1600s – a group of radical English protestants who fled Britain and the Netherlands to the New World so they could practice their puritanism in peace.

In other words, they could not conceivably have less to do with Ireland or Irish history. This holiday has about as much to do with us as Chinese New Year does (though you probably shouldn’t tell Fine Gael that, as you’ll only give them ideas).

Even for those of us who like the US, that doesn’t mean we should adopt every aspect of that culture and totally Americanise our country. You might like Polish history, but you’re not going to randomly decide to celebrate Polish Independence Day as a big national event here, for example. You can appreciate a country’s traditions without letting them supplant your own.

I mean, this is the same party that just last year tried to commemorate the reviled Black and Tans, remove statues of men who fought in the 1916 Rising by dubbing them “racist”, and pushed for the longest time to remove history as a mandatory subject from schools. While relentlessly attacking Irish culture, we’re being asked to import traditions from abroad, because apparently our own history and customs aren’t sufficient.

In fact, Thanksgiving was historically a kind of harvest festival, which makes the Fine Gael proposal all the more baffling. If you wanted to create a day of thanks relating to the harvest, they could have made the Gaelic harvest festival of Lughnasadh a national holiday, and marketed it to Americans as “the Irish equivalent of Thanksgiving” or “Thanksgiving with a Gaelic twist” – not just lift a foreign tradition wholesale and drop it crashing onto the national table.

Apparently our government aren’t content with borrowing every single policy and talking point of the US Democrats – from climate policy, to amnesty for illegal immigrants, to Black Lives Matter and racial identity politics and lockdown (even going on about George Floyd in the Dáil, as if that situation had the slightest bit to do with us).

They aren’t content with affecting American pronunciation of words like “solidariddy,” or adopting slogans from American presidential campaigns like “Build Back Better.”

No, none of that is enough. We have to fully become an amorphous blob of a country – a land and people with no culture of our own, who are merely a general cosmopolitan mish-mash of European and North American modernism. They won’t be happy until we’re all stopping on the “highway” to get some “gas” and “candy” on the way to “prom.”

It’s funny that the people who push “diversity” the hardest seem to want every country on earth to become an almost identical variation of each other. So far as our leaders are concerned, every city in the world should basically resemble Amsterdam with a tonne of American business and entertainment sprinkled in.

No thanks, Fine Gael – Ireland has plenty of culture of its own to be getting on with.

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