Usually, Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season. Although, for some, it starts earlier than that. Many celebrate the day with a big meal with family and friends. The table is filled with traditional foods: turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, seasonal vegetables, cornbread, and pie. Families gather around the table and share what they are thankful for. In the morning they may watch the Macy parade or run in a local Turkey Trot or in the afternoon, play or watch a football game.
Although on different days and with different customs, Thanksgiving is also shared in other countries: Germany celebrates Erntedankfest (harvest thanks festival) on the first Sunday of October; on the second Monday of October in Canada; Australia on the last Wednesday of November; Brazil the last Thursday in November; Grenada October 25th; Liberia, the first Thursday of November; the Netherlands on the first Wednesday in November; Rwanda the first Friday of August; Saint Lucia the first Monday in October; Japan November 23rd; and the United Kingdom on the first Sunday of the harvest moon.
Prayers of thanks and harvest ceremonies have been around mankind for centuries. Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians feasted and paid tribute to their gods after the autumn harvest. Ancient Hebrews and Chinese held harvest and thanksgiving celebrations.
Thanksgiving was and is about abundance and being grateful for that bounty, for, without it, there is suffering.
Google estimates there are approximately 828 million people worldwide that go to bed hungry every night. 193 million people in 53 countries face acute food insecurity; meaning they are unable to adequately feed themselves and are at risk of starvation. 26 million children under the age of 5 are wasting, leading to a low weight and height ratio, and associated illnesses.
My mother experienced acute hunger during the Depression era. Her tendency to hoard food was with her until the day she died, which is probably why she became a chef and showered her loved ones with great Thanksgiving meals.
I’ve experienced hunger, although not to the extent of starving. If I chose to go on a fast, I always knew I could break it anytime, and for the rare times I went without food for a few days because I stayed out in the wilderness too long or forgot to pack enough provisions, I had a few extra pounds of body fat to tie me over until I could eat again.
As Thanksgiving approaches, and I once again enjoy the gifts that are my family and friends, and the fact that I will not go to bed hungry, I will take a moment, and vow once again to not take the richness that is my life for granted.
“May the sun bring you new energy by day.
May the moon softly restore you by night.
May the rain wash away your worries.
May the breeze blow new strength into your being.
May you walk gently through this world and
Know its beauty all the days of your life.”
How did you find solace this week?
© 2022. Sharon Kreider. All Rights Reserved