06 Dec 2021

"Embarassing": Kildare Cllr lambasts Thanksgiving in Ireland bank holiday suggestion

A cornucopia of food, a common symbol for Thanksgiving. Pic: Jill Wellington via Pixabay

A cornucopia of food, a common symbol for Thanksgiving. Pic: Jill Wellington via Pixabay

A Councillor from Kildare has described the suggestion made by a Galway-based TD to make the US holiday of Thanksgiving into a bank holiday as "embarassing."

It follows the news that an additional bank holiday is being proposed for frontline workers as part of the government's pandemic bonus strategy. 

Social Democrats Cllr Chris Pender quote-tweeted the suggestion mentioning Thanksgiving, which was originally made by Fine Gael's Ciaran Cannon.

The Newbridge politician said: "This is embarrassing, honestly just another attempt from FG to celebrate the British colonising and slaughtering people."

"Can't celebrate the black and tans I know lads let's go further back and to another country no one will notice."

Cllr Pender's latter comment appears to be a sly reference to Fine Gael controversially unveiled plans to commemorate English Black and Tans troops at a ceremony in January 2020.

The commemoration was later cancelled following public outcry.

Cllr Pender previously suggested on his official Twitter account that the bank holiday should commemorate St Brigid's Day or the Celtic holiday of Imbolc.

He explained: "Not that I care all to much about bank Holidays because regardless of the job I've been in I've always had to work them, But why not St Brigids Day/Imbolc which as I've said before allows for the celebration of something that represents both Pre Christian & Post Christian Ireland."

"Not to mention we already have a holiday around Samhain, Yule, Bealtaine and Eostre. Lithá and Lughnásádh are kinda covered Imbolc and Mabon are the only points on the Celtic calendar we don't have holidays for so if we want to celebrate heritage why not pre Christian heritage?" he added.

Thanksgiving takes place on the last Thursday of November each year and is modeled on a 1621 feast shared by the English colonists (Pilgrims) of Plymouth and the Wampanoag people as a result of a successful harvest.

While it continues to be a popular holiday in the US, it nevertheless has drawn criticism over the years, with many claiming that it serves as a celebration of the conquest of Native Americans by European settlers.

Both Imbolc and St Brigid's Day take place on February 1.

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