Sunday, October 9, 2016

It's like Columbus Day, only less racist!

Hey, today is Leif Erikson Day! Yes, it's once again time to-huh? What's Leif Erikson Day? I pretend you asked. Why, it's the day we set aside to celebrate Icelandic explorer Leif Erikson's voyage to Vinland. Yes Vinland, a.k.a. Canada? Maybe you've heard of it?
No really, I'm asking because according to this 2006 study only 92% of
respondents age 18-24 could find Canada on a map. 92% might sound good,
but that means 8% couldn't. Couldn't find Canada. Not judging, but yikes.
Hm...I gather it's sort of a drunker
version of Colonial Williamsburg.
Yeah, so it was Leif Erikson and not Columbus who became the first European to set foot on America. We know because Vikings loved sagas and the Saga of the Greenlanders contains stories about Leif and his trip to Canada five hundred years before Smallpox McJerkface. I'm not saying that some sagas aren't probably the result of mead and spoiled cod, but this one has archeological evidence to back it up. Erikson founded a few settlements, including Leifsbudir whose purported remains are now a tourist site with actors dressed like vikings and everything so you know it's legit.

"We shall choke the fjords of this new
land with tolerance! Also, your corpses."

-Some Vikings
Leif Erikson Day then is a kind of less racist alternative to Columbus Day. I say less racist because you're not celebrating the calamitous arrival of a ship load of communicable diseases on a continent full of unprepared immune systems. Of course these are Vikings we're talking about and they're weren't necessarily famous for being super-tolerant of people who have stuff they want. I'm not saying that there's any reason to suspect he too was a racist, it's just that Erikson probably wasn't so much interested in exploring new lands and cultures as he was looking for new trade opportunities and possibly plunder and murder.

Anyway, Erikson and pals eventually packed up and went back home leaving a few artifacts and a saga instead of horror and an uncountable number dead left by some other Europeans we could mention, so I suggest you mark the occasion by talking like a Viking. It seems both appropriate and obnoxious. You're friends will hate you. But if they complain, just accuse them of being a tool of Hallmark or corporate interests or something. Like any good holiday, Lief Erikson Day should have a healthy amount of guilt associated with it.
Pictured: an actual Columbus Day card.
Not pictured: jokes about the next 500
years of disease, war and genocide.

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