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The Liturgical History of Cyber Monday
While most Americans are familiar with the commercial experience of Cyber Monday, few know its liturgical origins and its controversial inclusion in the 1552 edition of the Book of Common Prayer.
William Siber was born in Pembrokeshire, Wales in 1497. As a young man, his unusual height for the day (5’ 11”) allowed him to travel England with a band of minstrels as a crowd-gathering oddity. This is likely when he developed his passion for value-based pricing. After the success of his first theological treatise Perceived Value and The Parable of the Shrewd Manager, Siber was elected to Parliament in 1525.
Following his wildly unpopular essay 11 Percent: Rethinking the Tithe, Siber set his eyes on ecclesiological reform, fully convinced that the Sabbath ought to be observed on Monday. Siber’s position was influenced less by Biblical research and more by a French calendar he was given as a Guy Fawkes Day gift.
On Monday November 30, 1526, Siber walked the streets surrounding Westminster Cathedral taking orders for a package deal on his combined works. These were delivered by Siber in 3-5 days, or the next day for an extra sixpence. After failing to honor his own return policy, Siber was killed the following week by an angry peasant mob.
When the 1552 version of the Book of Common Prayer was produced, Edward VI included Cyber Monday (preferring the Gaelic spelling) on the church calendar as a Day of Special Devotion, ironically for “special acts of discipline and self-denial”. Cyber Monday was fixed three days after another controversial folk holiday, “Black Friday”, known then as “The Black Rubric”. Both of these days were eliminated from the BCP in 1559 by Elizabeth I.
Now, nearly 500 years later, outside of Pembrokeshire and Cupertino, CA, Cyber Monday is celebrated with little acknowledgement of its earnest, yet misguided, patron.
To honor William Siber, you can share this inadequately researched post or visit our online store.
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