November 30th is marked on the rough Otherfaith calendar as a ‘Community Day’. I have never properly discussed the ‘community days’ in the Otherfaith calendar, or the purpose behind timing for the current ones (July 1st and November 30th). As this holiday can be tied to the recently passed Thanksgiving, it feels appropriate to finally discuss it.
Community days are intended to be when the Other People gather to share in food and comfort. For this reason, they are placed near some major holidays that take place in the US. In their original conception, these holidays would be altered to fit the local area where the Other People lived. They are meant to fit in well with the surrounding celebrations and be a time for the People to get together for fun and relaxation. For this reason, they are not considered holy days or dedicated to specific gods at this point (though the Dierne, a partying god, could patron them).
Community days could also be spent doing volunteer work or making sure those with less in the community are taken care of. Especially as we go into December, this is important. The holidays are a very rough time for many people, and supporting each other through them should be part of the faith.
Our Winter Community Day is a hurrah as we head into the holy month of December (opposite our holy month of July), and it is placed apart from Thanksgiving for a few reasons. One is that people are usually with their families for Thanksgiving day. Another is that Thanksgiving has a very complicated history and is celebrated instead as a mourning day. The unfortunately still prevalent myth of pilgrims and Native Americans gathering in peace to share a meal is simply not factual.
It is up to individual People to decide if they wish to celebrate Thanksgiving or not, their own feelings about it, but I do think education is important. I received mine in high school thanks to excellent teachers based in social justice. But I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to have a community day on Thanksgiving or have this holiday listed without some acknowledgement that Thanksgiving is not a simple holiday. The United States is a country with a history of horrible oppression and bloodshed, and as joyous as some find Thanksgiving, others find it to be a reminder of the violence their ancestors suffered – that many people continue to suffer.
November 30th was chosen because it is the day before our holy month of December, and it can be a day where we gather in awareness with a desire to move forward into a new just world. Our upcoming Reunion, after all, is about the world we can make, one that takes struggle and sacrifice but which is worthy of all those things. Those who don’t wish to celebrate Thanksgiving do not have to gather religiously for that day, and those who do may do so on their own.
Happy December Eve, all.
Thank you for reading. ‘of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist religion. You can find more about us here and here. You can contact us here if you have any questions or would like to get involved.