I know I said that I was going to skip this week BUT I got inspired by the holiday season. I wanted to write a brief history of Thanksgiving and also explain what Thanksgiving represents to me personally.
Lets start with how it all started (for those of you who are not American and have no clue why we do what we do).
Here’s a quick synopsis according to Wikipedia:
“Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day, is a holiday celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November. It has been celebrated as a federal holiday every year since 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of ‘Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens’, to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November. Thanksgiving was also celebrated nationally in 1789, after a proclamation by George Washington. As a federal and public holiday in the U.S., Thanksgiving is one of the major holidays of the year. Together with Christmas and New Year, Thanksgiving is a part of the broader holiday season.
The event that Americans commonly call the ‘First Thanksgiving’ was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in 1621. This feast lasted three days, and it was attended by 90 Native Americans (as accounted by attendee Edward Winslow) and 53 Pilgrims. The New England colonists were accustomed to regularly celebrating ‘thanksgivings’—days of prayer thanking God for blessings such as military victory or the end of a drought”.
So, for all of you out there who think Thanksgiving is just a time for Americans to eat loads of food and watch American football…well you’re somewhat correct lol. Many Americans do actually look forward to this holiday for those reasons. Oh, and who could forget the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!! That’s one of my favorite things about this holiday 🙂
But let’s talk about what Thanksgiving means to me.
Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for everything that you have in your life. It’s a time where you get together with family (who you may not have seen all year) and you celebrate all the things that you are thankful for. Of course, we do eat tons of delicious food but it’s not ONLY about that. I love reminiscing on the past and creating new memories as well. It’s a time of reflection and a time to appreciate the harvest/autumn season. It’s a holiday completely dedicated to family and that’s what I love most about it. Anyone can celebrate Thanksgiving because it’s not religious in nature and everyone has something to be grateful for.
It’s a little strange to be back in the States at this time of the year. I’m still getting used to all the Thanksgiving wishes. When you’re traveling on the other side of the world with only foreigners around you, nobody even acknowledges that it’s a holiday season. Because the truth is, it’s really only an American tradition (although, Canadians do have their own Thanksgiving in October). So while you’re excited, everyone around you remains oblivious.
Last Thanksgiving, I had literally just arrived in New Zealand (Christchurch to be exact) and I did have some Americans at the hostel with me. We consoled each other over missing our “Day of Thanks”. I was just glad to have people around me that understood what I felt at the time.
This year, I’ve been bombarded by people wishing me a good holiday and I’ve been taken a back by it (in a good way). Thanksgiving decorations are everywhere and who could forget the advertisements for Black Friday. Suffice to say, I’m very happy to be back in the U.S. for this holiday season (in more ways than one).
So, what am I thankful for this year, you ask? Here’s the top 5:
- My family and friends (both new and old)
- My health (I am very fortunate to be well)
- The opportunity to travel and the enormous inner growth that resulted (life experience beats the classroom any day)
- My freedom (the future is filled with endless possibilities)
- My courage (I can accomplish anything I set my heart & mind on)
I still say Thanksgiving should be a worldwide holiday but alas, that is only one of my dreams (kind of kidding and kind of serious lol). Maybe my friends across the globe can start a trend?! We shall see.
I will enjoy spending tomorrow with my family, enjoying good food and good company. I may even brave the Black Friday sales. Or on second thought, I’ll stay home that day.
Happy Turkey Day to everyone in America and a belated holiday wish to all you Canadians out there 😉 Look forward to a new blog post coming Next Wednesday!