Freedonians, Ruritanians Scrap Over Few Remaining Heritage Months

FREDONIA, New York.  This town of 9,871 in Chautauqua County New York is home to the largest concentration of expatriates from Freedonia in the United States, a source of both pride and sorrow for residents.  “My family had to leave in a hurry,” says Blaotzk Nmiderlsk, a sixth-generation descendant of a young couple who fled Europe after World War I.  “My ancestors were the keepers of the country’s name, and mean immigration officials on Ellis Island would only allow them to bring in one ‘e’.”

            Miss Ruritania, 2018

Across the country in Hoxie, Arkansas, Rupert Rassendyll labors over a hot griddle cooking specialties from his native land, Ruritania.  “We suffer systemic discrimination,” he says between calling orders to his wife Antoinette.  “Everybody say ‘Let’s eat out, you want to have Chinese, Mexican, French?’  Nobody ever say ‘Let’s try Ruritanian for once.’”

Young Freedonian couple practice for annual “wife toss.”


The two disgruntled patriarchs have something in common besides lousy attitudes; both are racing against time to secure one of the few remaining months in the calendar that has not be commandeered by another group, and have it designated as a time to honor their fictional nation.

At present there are only four months in the year that have not been claimed by a racial, ethnic or sexual minority–January, July, August and December.  “Those are all lousy choices,” says demographer Charles Burresford of the University of Massachusetts-Seekonk.  “In January it’s too cold, in July and August it’s too hot, and in December you’ve already got Christmas, Hannukah and Kwanzaa.  The fictional nations unfortunately let the real world pass them by.”

Ruritania was created by Anthony Hope Hawkins in the novel “The Prisoner of Zenda.”  When settlers from other books encroached upon its borders, its characters fled to America seeking a better life than that offered in their native land, which offers only store credit, not cash, on returns of small appliances.  “What am I to do with this mini-donut maker?” says Rassendyll.  “Ruritanians are forbidden to eat donuts except on the fifth Tuesday of the month, I need the counter space!”

Freedonia was formed after World War II from an abandoned amusement park, several shopping center parking lots, and discarded Christmas fruitcakes.  It is a landlocked country whose navy was decimated in the Battle of Dos Fledens, in which Russian forces routed its four-vessel fleet using only electric golf carts.

     Invading Russian golf cart.

With July just two weeks away, sniping between the world’s most powerful fictional nations has intensified, with Freedonia’s U.N. ambassador calling Ruritanians “stupid doody heads,” triggering a terse diplomatic protest–“So’s your old man”–from the Ruritanian embassy in Washington, D.C.

Appeals to other groups to give up their special months have fallen on deaf ears.  “Why should we yield to a bunch of losers who can’t get their act together?” says Joao de Finsalves, incoming national chair of the Banana Republic Dictatorship Anti-Defamation League, which has an option to acquire August for a $1,000 contribution to the Committee to Re-Elect the President and a player to be named later.  “They need to get out of their Marx Brothers movies and novels and buy some political influence like everybody else.”

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