Here we are, Thanksgiving 2015. For the USA Nexus members, Happy Thanksgiving! For the members around the world, Australia, Africa, Europe, Asia, South America, Canada, Mexico, I'm also taking the moment to wish you the best, even without the holiday.
In my workplace meeting yesterday, everyone was asked to express what they are thankful for. Many said, for their faith. Some said for their jobs - which they work hard do have, and have unions to support them; for their families - which I'm sure they nurture and mentor, provide for and worry about. Many of the things that people were thankful for, were there either because of their own hard work, or because others care about them on their journey through life, or luck.
I am always socially challenged at meetings, not wanting to guzzle the grape Koolaid (For those who don't know, a reference to the Christian cult "People's Temple", back in 1978 when more than 900 people drank cyanide - supplimented grape Kool-aid at the behest of their leader, and died in an act of social/corporate/religious loyalty). And, not wanting to be regarded as a negative person, or disruptive, or excessively thoughtful, but always wanting to fly under the radar, I say as little as I can. The person before me said "I'm thankful to have such great coworkers" and I said "My thoughts as well" and that seemed to go over OK.
To me, the USA Holiday "Thanksgiving" should evolve into something different and more comprehensive. The holiday recognizes the period of colonisation, when English religious / political refugees acknowledged their fortune at a good harvest and in legend, were aided by native people in their struggle to survive. In legend, the Puritans thanked their deity, but not much is said about the people who provided sustanance, seeds, mentored them on how to grow American crops that were adapted to and productive in the Atlantic Northeast of the continent, then they and their families and communities were decimated by disease and warfare brought by the new immigrants both by accident and intent.
It does seem good to express gratitude and wonder for the good things in life. The human Thanksgiving tradidition is a harvest festival, and apparently there are Thanksgiving festivals that have nothing to do with English religious immigrants to Native American soils - such as this one " Harvest Thanksgiving in Britain pre-dates Christianity when the Saxons would offer the first sheaf of corn to fertility gods. When the harvest was finally collected, communities would come together for a harvest supper (Wikipedia). Note - their corn must have been wheat or oats, since maize, which people in the USA call "corn", is a native American plant and development.
I would love to see the holiday as a celebration of native people, their contributions, their history and culture, and their loss, noting that everyone, everywere, is descended from some kind of immigrant from another place. No one's ancestors occupied a land for all of eternity, and all people are descended from conquerors, the conquered, immigrants, those who made way by choice of force, for immigrants. As is often said, in the end, all Homo sapiens originate in Africa, some of us having somehow mixed in DNA from Homo neanderthalis and Homo sapiens sub species Denisova, whose ancestors also originated in Africa. The North American continent was filled with megafauna, who were killed off or died off in the transition of the continent to human occupation. We are all in this life together, we are all accidents and products of evolution, some more recent and some more in the remote past. If we look at Thanksgiving as a way to acknowedege that, it seems like we can share and acknowledge our understanding and gratitude - to those who came before us, and their successes and losses, to random chance, to the planning an nurturing by those before us, science, governence, education, soldiers and pacifists.
Have a happy day and my best wishes to everyone.
And for the day after, in the U.S....
Thanks! And my best wishes to you all, holiday or not.
There must have been a harvest home celebration here, but it's all christianized. The blackest fundies have their day of thanking their god for the harvest, so they sit in church and bleat as if there were no butchers.
I like your description how you see your holiday, Daniel! So I'll join. Some days ago I saw a large group of people, moslems and non-moslems spontaneously come together in a mosque here and sing ´You'll never walk alone´. Wonderful! I'll bring that into the celebration.
Yes, happy turkey day. To certain people you should say "happy day, turkey."
Like Mark Twain, if that particular sperm hadn't met that particular egg, my billions of years of non-existence would have continued. I wouldn't have known or cared.
Thanks, Bert, but y'all wouldn't know what y'all're missing.
I wouldn't know I had missed what boys discover at about 11 or 12. Gee-ee.
Happy turkey day, I hope everyone stays safe throughout the holidays.
I guess I'm most thankful today for being able to have dinner with my 83 year old step father. We do not always see eye to eye and I have a lot of issues with him, but he called me early yesterday about sharing today's dinner with him. Everything worked out to where we either ate together or had Thanksgiving alone. He made chicken, rice, dressing, etc. and we ate and talked some. After a couple of hours he was getting sleepy so I came on home.
Remember that you will not always have others around to be with you, so be sociable with your family and friends as much as possible. You may regret not doing so once they are gone. It's also totally possible that it would be YOU who would end up no longer being with the living. Enjoy life and each other. You only live once.
Once again, I was lucky enough to share Thanksgiving with my wife and my best friend. There was great music, excellent food, and finest-kind company ... along with a showing of Avengers: Age of Ultron for my friend and myself.
Far as I'm concerned, it don't get better.
Powerfully stated, Daniel, and what I meant to write had I your sensitivity and wisdom.