september 15

Ann Arbor had an Octoberfest celebration on Friday. The family and I went with friends and had a good time. Clementine danced to the polka band as we ate pretzels and drank beer. At some point afterward, I became interested in the fact that it wasn’t being called Septemberfest, as we still had a few more weeks to go before October arrived. I decided to do a little research into what the parameters where and whether or not any official guidelines had ever been issued from Germany. I eventually found them (the event usually takes place during the 16 days up to and including the first Sunday in October), but, before I had, I’d started looking into the significance of the day, September 15, to see if maybe there was any historic reason why Octoberfest might be celebrated on that day. The only thing that I could find was that, on that date in 1938, Germany officially adopted the Swastika design as their national flag. While I doubt very seriously that’s what all the men in lederhosen surrounding us were celebrating, it still gives one reason to pause.

Speaking of Nazis, or at least former Hitler Youth, apparently our new Pope, Benedict XVI, made an unfortunate remark the other day concerning Mohamed. (Speaking in Germany, he quoted the 14th century Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus, saying that Mohamed was “evil.”) Not long thereafter, a Catholic nun was gunned down in Somalia. The Pope has since issued an apology, saying that it was not his intention to blaspheme “The Profit,” who was probably a very nice man. One would like to think that his apology was sincere, but I suppose it could have more to do with the fundamentalist Somali cleric that’s been calling for Muslims everywhere to hunt down and murder him. (Word is, he’s beefing up security.)

So, our new Pope, formerly of the Hitler Youth (which I don’t actually hold against him at all, by the way), quoted a 14th century Byzantine emperor, and, as a result, a woman lies dead in Somalia and we’re teetering on the edge of a holy war. Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? (Isn’t religion great?)

And, for what it’s worth, September 15 is also the day (in 1835) that Charles Darwin, and the crew of the HMS Beagle, reached the Gal

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  1. Jennyfurann
    Posted September 18, 2006 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Actually Oktoberfest was originally the celebration of Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese. This was in October. They started to celebrate it as a harvest festival every year. Munich’s government took over the running of the festival and decided it should be moved forward for better weather. (nicer, warmer, better beer drinking weather).

    If you ever want a really good Oktoberfest without having to go to Munich, try Frankemuth. It’s a damn good time and there are no nazis to speak of…

  2. degutails
    Posted September 18, 2006 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    yea!!! kiss a scientist day is a fabulous idea! how about the fifteenth of every month? or do you think that’s greedy? darwin did lots of other things, and for all we know, they always happened on the fifteenth of the month…

  3. Mark H.
    Posted September 18, 2006 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    September 15 is also the anniversary of the 1963 racist bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, which killed four young girls as they prepared for Sunday school. The church had earlier that year been the starting point for weeks of nonviolent demonstrations that rocked downtown Birmingham, and changed the world by forcing the federal government to actively oppose American apartheid.

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