Does it seem a bit random that the United States votes on a Tuesday in November? Why not, say, a Saturday in May, which seems a much more civil pronouncement?
Blame it on our agrarian past. In early November, most of the crops are in, yet the dirt roads remain dry enough to travel over by horse and buggy. And in the time when these things were being decided, polling stations weren't yet as ubiquitous as coffee shops in Seattle. Commonly, it took an overnight trip to reach a polling station at the county seat. One couldn't travel on Sunday, so Monday was ruled out as Election Day. Likewise, most markets were held later in the week, so after voting early on Tuesday morning, farmers could quickly reverse course to make it home in time to sell their recently harvested crops.
For more articles on culture and tradition, check out the links below.
- Blue Star Equiculture. "Election Day -- Why Tuesday?" (July 30, 2011) http://www.equiculture.org/election-day-why-tuesday-.aspx
- Detroit Red Wings. "Legend of the Octopus." National Hockey League. (July 30, 2011) http://redwings.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=43781
- Mooallem, Jon. "The history and mystery of the high five." ESPN The Magazine. July 29, 2011. (July 30, 2011) http://espn.go.com/espn/story/_/id/6813042/who-invented-high-five
- Thompson, Jenn. "Bizarre origins of wedding traditions." CNN Living. June 27, 2008. (July 30, 2011) http://articles.cnn.com/2008-06-27/living/wedding.traditions_1_wedding-gowns-wedding-party-white-wedding-dress?_s=PM:LIVING
Geophagy is the worldwide phenomenon of people eating dirt. HowStuffWorks takes a look at this counterintuitive practice and why people do it.