November holidays celebrate the bounty of the harvest and nature’s beauty as the palette shifts from vibrant green to warm, autumnal fire. But sometimes I think that the glut of holidays beginning this month were an invention of the Man to distract the herd from the oncoming gloom of winter. Whatever… as long as I get my pumpkin pie — a staple of November’s marquee holiday, along with the turkey, dressing, gravy, cranberry sauce and green bean casserole with fried onions atop.
Media lunks like us generally don’t observe Veterans Day by taking the day off, the price of doing business in an ever-accelerating news cycle. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t honored and humbled by those Americans we honor that day: the uniformed millions who have served our country’s military over the years, all of whom were willing to pay the ultimate price for their patriotism and many who actually did.
Okay, so this 10 best is not exactly timely because Election Day passed last week. For the hundreds of thousands of Triad residents who apparently didn’t know this: Election Day is the day when we choose who gets to call the shots. Yes, you actually have a say in who sits at the helm of the bobsled. It’s a right that men fought and died for way back in 1776… you know, like that guy on the dollar bill and all those poofy looking dudes with wigs and pantaloons?
GUY FAWKES DAY
In 1605, Guy “Guido” Fawkes and some of his Catholic cohorts attempted to blow up the British Houses of Parliament in London and take out King James I by filling a basement room with gunpowder. Somebody ratted them out to Lord Monteagle, and the conspirators were hanged, drawn and quartered, literally going medieval on their asses — all except for Fawkes, who jumped from the gallows and broke his own neck. This bout of terrorism and governmentcrackdown on insurgency is celebrated in England and New Zealand, oddly enough, with fireworks.
NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH
That’s right, November is National Novel Writing Month. So slide off that barstool, you slacker, and get some words down on paper. It has been said that there are only two kinds of stories: the tale of a journey, be it literal or spiritual; and what happens when a stranger comes to town. That should be enough to get your creative gland throbbing.
ST. ANDREW’S DAY
St. Andrew, brother of St. Peter, was a fisherman, a disciple of John the Baptist and eventually an apostle. He was martyred by crucifixion on an X-shaped cross, and legend says his head is one of the treasures in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. He’s also the patron saint of Scotland, where they celebrate him every Nov. 30.
COLUMBUS ‘DISCOVERS’ PUERTO RICO
Okay, not technically a holiday, but November is the month that Christopher Columbus stumbled upon the Puerto Rican archipelago in 1493 and claimed it for Spain, much to the dismay of the Tainos who had been living there since like 2000 BC. Trivia: The island’s first governor was my man Ponce de Leon, just a few years before he went over to Florida to find the Fountain of Youth.
TRANSGENDER AWARENESS MONTH
Were you aware that transgender people are people who have gender identities that do not necessarily correlate to their given sexuality? Well now you do. It’s a whole new world out there, grandma. Celebrate by dressing in drag or, for the purist, having a testicle or two removed. Just do yourself a favor and don’t Google “tranny” unless, of course, that’s what you’re into.
British satirist Michael “Atters” Attree sporting shows how Movember is done. (public domain).
This one is awesome. In Australia and New Zealand, men celebrate the 11 th month of the year in an unusual way: by growing mustaches. Movember, also known as Novembeard, was created as a way to highlight men’s health issues like prostate cancer and depression. It hasn’t quite caught on yet here in the states, but I’m totally doing it next year.
The day after Thanksgiving is widely acknowledged as the first shopping day of Christmas, with big sales, frenzied crowds and, later, turkey sandwiches. It’s also the name of a badass Steely Dan song. But when this Black Friday comes, it’s the stores that collect everything they’re owed.