If you have been reading this BLOG for a while, you know that I attend church weekly to get another view of the world and current events. This week the topic was no surprise, giving thanks. Being as Yesterday was “Thanks Giving” the topic seems appropriately timed. I though that I would start with a brief summary of the secular holiday.
Many people think that Thanks Giving is a religious holiday, but it is not. The celebration is mainly a harvest celebration and exists in many countries by a variety of names.
The following is an extract from Wikipedia:
The Harvest Thanksgiving Festival (Erntedankfest) is an early October, German festival. The festival has a significant religious component to it but also, like its North American counterpart, includes large harvest dinners (consisting mostly of autumn crops) and parades. The Bavarian beer festival Oktoberfest generally takes place within the vicinity of Erntedankfest.
In the West Indian island of Grenada, there is a national holiday known as Thanksgiving Day which is celebrated on October 25. Even though it bears the same name, and is celebrated at roughly the same time as the American and Canadian versions of Thanksgiving, this holiday is unrelated to either of those celebrations. Instead the holiday marks the anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of the island in 1983, in response to the deposition and execution of Grenadian Prime Minister Maurice Bishop.
JapanMain article: Labor Thanksgiving Day
Labor Thanksgiving Day (勤労感謝の日 Kinrō Kansha no Hi?) is a national holiday in Japan. It takes place annually on November 23. The law establishing the holiday, which was adopted during the American occupation after World War II, cites it as an occasion for commemorating labor and production and giving one another thanks. It has roots in an ancient harvest ceremony (Niiname-sai (新嘗祭?)) celebrating hard work.
In the West African country of Liberia, which beginning in 1820 was colonized by free African Americans (most of whom had been formerly enslaved), Thanksgiving is celebrated on the first Thursday of November.
Many of the Pilgrims who migrated to the Plymouth Plantation had resided in the city of Leiden from 1609–1620, many of whom had recorded their births, marriages and deaths at the Pieterskerk. To commemorate this, a non-denominational Thanksgiving Day service is held each year on the morning of the American Thanksgiving Day in the Pieterskerk, a Gothic church in Leiden, to commemorate the hospitality the Pilgrims received in Leiden on their way to the New World.
In the Australian external territory of Norfolk Island, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the last Wednesday of November, similar to the pre-World War II American observance on the last Thursday of the month. This means the Norfolk Island observance is the day before or six days after the United States’ observance. The holiday was brought to the island by visiting American whaling ships.
Now that we have a bit of history and we have established that “Thanks Giving” is not associated with any particular religion, lets spend a minute contemplating its value.
I have noticed that when I get busy with the problems of day to day life, I tend to not pay as much attention to those around me as I should. Some times I take my team members (Hockey, Work) for granted and forget to say thank you. When you live with the same person for 30+ years (Home life), it is too easy to focus on getting a job done with out asking for an opinion or saying thank you when a job is done.
In many cases we are very grateful for the help of others and we believe through their actions that they understand, but nothing replaces a simple thank you. Our human condition tends to make us stingy with thank you’s and praise for others, so we have to be conscious and attentive.
Having a time set aside for reflection and self improvement sounds like a good idea. Pay special attention to those around you and be more generous with both accepting help and thanking people for it. There is a saying in India that a man’s wealth is measured by the number of people who owe him favors. Let us all strive to increase our wealth.
As an aside, I hope everyone had a chance to enjoy the awesome weather and had a happy and productive thanks giving.