26 Nov 2020
Today in the US, people will gather with their friends and families to celebrate Thanksgiving. Millions of turkeys will be eaten and cranberries made into delicious sauces. Pumpkins will be formed into pies and coated with marshmallow for dessert.
The first thanksgiving was held in 1621 to celebrate the first harvest in the New World, and was reportedly attended by both settlers and indigenous people. As the story goes, friendly native Americans swooped in to teach the struggling colonists how to survive, hence the celebration of the first harvest. Of course that peace between settlers and Native Americans didn’t last and there were some nasty times ahead, but it started out ok.
Of course, as with most things, there’s debate about whether or not the tradition was founded elsewhere, and earlier. But let’s not let that get in our way of this bit of diarrhoea. We will just accept that Americans have been thankful people for a long time, and move on.
The origins in both the US and Canada have to do with giving thanks for bountiful harvests. As a kid growing up in a country town, I vividly remember Harvest Festivals being celebrated in church – the front of the church was always decorated with bounty from peoples gardens and farms and was later, from memory, sold off for charity. I think. It was a long time ago so, so forgive me if I’ve misinterpreted. But I do remember there being concerts or social events to help celebrate.
It’s nothing on the Northern hemisphere thanksgiving, of course, but the original aim is still the same.
Regardless of who it is you are giving thanks to, whether it’s God, some other divine being, Mother Nature, Planet Earth, or just dumb luck – what have you got to give thanks for this year?
Let’s face it, this last year has been one that has caused a lot of people a lot of distress, so what should we all be giving thanks for?
(I know there are a lot of people who have lost loved ones this year, so maybe the first thanks should be that we were blessed to have had that person as part of our lives.)
Maybe we should also give thanks for:
A place to live
Means of communication
People who love us
I could go on for another three pages with things that I am thankful – and grateful – for. But I’m handing it over to you – what are you thankful for each year, and specifically in 2020?