November Teacher Resource Guide

Along with March, November is one of the two windiest months in the northern hemisphere. In many ways, this is because November is the mirror image of March - that is, the same weather patterns are causing all the wind, except in reverse. In March, strong high pressure areas from the south are jostling with strong low pressure areas from the north, pushing them out as winter gives way to Spring. In November, autumn is being pushed out by winter, and the same situation occurs, except that this time, the warm high pressure areas are in retreat, and bitter winds are gushing in from the north.

There is nothing like a bit of fur to help keep off the cold, and in parts of the United States, and much of Australia and New Zealand, as well as Canada, Ireland, England, and Spain, November is one of the hairiest months in the calendar. This is because there is a movement for men to grow moustaches and, sometimes, beards for charity during November. Some combine the words of November and moustache to describe this movement, creating the word "Movember," while in the United States, it is often called Novembeard or No-Shave November. It is perhaps no accident that this happens in the cold, windy month of November, when facial hair can be quite pleasant to help shelter the lower face from the elements (although in Australia, the summer is just heating up when Movember comes around).

Another interesting use of words can be found in the term "Black Friday," which usually describes the big shopping day following Thanksgiving. People start their Christmas shopping on this day, and at first, the threatening-sounding name seems to be misplaced. However, the term actually began as a police nickname in the 1960s (or at least, that is when it was first written down).

The police call this day Black Friday because of all the problems that the frenzied shopping day causes for them - traffic jams, huge numbers of jaywalkers, fights over sale items, injuries from people hurrying and jostling, pickpockets trying to make a profit from all the money-filled purses and wallets being carried on the streets, and everything else a policeman would rather not deal with. In the recent hard economic times, though, store owners have also taken to using the name - because it is the start of a selling season that is the only thing that puts their books "in the black" rather than "in the red."

The famous Thanksgiving turkey eaten in America is another source of many weird and interesting facts about this month. Thanksgiving is the day during the year when the greatest number of Americans are eating exactly the same food, since around 97% of them will eat at least some turkey on this day. Forty-five million turkeys are eaten on Thanksgiving, weighing a total of 675 million pounds. The custom of the president (and nowadays, state officials as well) pardoning a turkey or a pair of turkeys each Thanksgiving probably started with President John F. Kennedy, and was turned into a formal ritual in 1989. Ironically, the turkeys were originally sent to live out the rest of their lives at a farm in Frying Pan Park, but more recently they have been sent to the Disney resorts instead.

Notable November Holidays, Events, and Celebrations

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