Traditionally, most of us travel on the third Thursday in November to reunite with family members, share food as a potluck, and eat mass quantities. The thanks part may often get pushed aside in all the giving, which brings me to a piece of this holiday that sometimes needs emphasizing: wherever you are in your life, there are some people out there who helped you along; your parents who raised you, your siblings who supported or challenged you, your friends who enjoy your company and help you when you're in need, your children who give you hope for the future, and lastly, teachers and mentors who have taught you and shown you the way. Give thanks for them all. Whether it's aloud in a pronoucement at your dinner today or a silent prayer, it's important to acknowledge how you got to be the person you are today and thank the people who helped you put the food on your table.
The spirit of Thanksgiving is based solidly in worldwide mid-fall harvest festivals where communities gather together to celebrate the abundance of the growing season by having a communal feast. Americans have wrapped the festival up with a remembrance of a deliverance of English settlers by Native Americans after the brutal winter of 1620 at Plymouth, Massachusetts. From Wikipedia:
"Teaching the colonists how to farm corn, where and how to catch fish, and how to make other necessary items, [Tisquantum, or Squanto,] was instrumental in the survival of the [Plymouth] settlement for the first two years. Squanto and another guide sent by Massasoit in 1621, Hobomok, also helped Plymouth set up trading posts where the Pilgrims could trade Indians for furs and pay off the cost of establishing the colony. Chief Massasoit later formed a Peace Treaty with the Pilgrims. Upon growing a plentiful harvest in the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims gathered with Squanto, Samoset, Massasoit, and ninety other Wampanoag men in a celebration of food and feasting. This celebration is known today as the First Thanksgiving, and is still commemorated annually in downtown Plymouth with a parade and a reenactment. Since 1941, Thanksgiving has been observed as a federal holiday in the United States."While you have your family and friends around you (and I hope you do!) say a few words about how much you appreciate the lessons you've learned and share the year's abundance. I sure am grateful that my family is nearby and is so incredibly generous with their time and enjoy helping out with the kids. I'm incredibly grateful I have a wonderful support group in my friends--you all are the best & just ask me for help with anything, I'm there. I'm glad I have a great job where I get to use my training and skills for a challenging variety of projects and am respected by my coworkers. Most of all, I'm so thankful for my husband and my kids. They brighten my every day, and inspire everything I do.
Thanks everyone, and happy Thanksgiving!