Happy Buy Nothing Day

bnd.jpgIs there no change of death in paradise?
Does ripe fruit never fall? Or do the boughs
Hang always heavy in that perfect sky,
Unchanging, yet so like our perishing earth,
With rivers like our own that seek for seas
They never find, the same receding shores
That never touch with inarticulate pang?

Wallace Stevens, Sunday Morning

Without fasting, where’s the pleasure in feasting? As compared with so much of the rest of the world, we Americans live in a perpetual state of feasting, eating too much, buying too much, working more and more hours so that we may consume more and more stuff, and then dedicating our ever scarcer leisure time to buying more or caring for the things that we own (and that increasingly seem to own us). How many of us can truly say that our closets are empty or our cupboards bare?

Which is why I always feel a certain ambivalence about Thanksgiving. I am by no means anti-holiday — I love holiday rituals and the way that holiday observances punctuate the yearly cycle of seasons — but this particular holiday often seems more like a celebration of gluttony than a genuine expression of thankfulness for plenty. If anything, I personally think we would be much better off with a national day of fasting. But instead, each year we are encouraged to stuff ourselves silly on Thursday and then rise out of bed on Black Friday with full bellies, only to head to the malls and food courts to buy more things and eat more food.

Buy Nothing Day, observed on the Friday after Thanksgiving in North America and on the last Saturday in November in the rest of the world, is a response to the over-commercialization of the winter holidays. It was created by our Canadian friends at Adbusters magazine (their servers seem a bit overburdened today, so you might have trouble with this URL

2 Comments so far

  1. TonyD (unregistered) on November 25th, 2005 @ 2:57 pm

    Testify! I’m a fan of buy nothing day. The day after Thanksgiving is a great day for staying home and playing board games.

  2. George (unregistered) on January 15th, 2006 @ 1:01 pm

    I’m looking for a DR. to assist me with an extended water only fast. Can anyone help me??

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